Security forces harass Pakistani newspapers

October 2, 2009 12:05 PM ET

The Urdu daily Asaap said Frontier Corps forces were posted outside its offices on August 1, 2009, questioning staff about connections with local insurgents, according to local news reports. The Frontier Corps is a local paramilitary unit stationed to quell a violent independence movement staged by Baloch nationalist groups in the province. 

In a front-page story on August 19, Asaap said the harassment had forced them to stop publication, but talks were under way to restart, according to local news reports. Local press freedom group the Rural Media Network of Pakistan said the action was in response to Asaap publication of a list of missing people issued by the insurgent Baloch Liberation United Front.

 

On August 21, the Frontier Corps were also stationed outside the Quetta offices of English-language daily Balochistan Express and the Urdu-language Daily Azadi, both published by senior Pakistani journalist Siddiq Baloch, according to local press freedom groups. “The siege continued for six days before it was lifted, but they gave no explanation,” Daily Azadi Editor Asif Baloch told CPJ. “They simply harassed our staff. Why, we don’t know. I think it is because we are the only independent newspaper left publishing all sides.” 

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