New York, March 12, 2018 –The Committee to Protect Journalists today welcomes the release on bail of Pakistani journalist Hafiz Husnain Raza and calls on Pakistani authorities to drop all remaining charges against him. Authorities released Raza from prison on March 10 after an Anti-Terrorism Court in Punjab province acquitted the journalist on eight charges under the Anti-Terror Act and granted him bail on five other charges under the Illicit Arms Act, Raza’s lawyer, Farooq Bajwa, said.
“It is a relief that Hafiz Husnain Raza was acquitted on terrorism charges and is now back home on bail with his family, ” CPJ Deputy Executive Director Robert Mahoney said. “The Pakistani authorities must now do right by him and drop the remaining ridiculous charges. He should never have been detained for his journalism in the first place and should not have the threat of jail hanging over his head.”
At the time of his arrest in April 2016, Raza was working as a regional correspondent for Pakistan’s leading conservative-leaning Urdu newspaper Nawa-i-Waqt. He frequently reported on land issues in the northern Punjab region, CPJ documented.