Washington, D.C., July 6, 2021 – Pakistan authorities should cease harassing journalist Nadeem Malik and refrain from summoning him over his work, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
On July 2, the counterterrorism wing of the Federal Investigation Agency issued a summons to Malik to appear for questioning today, according to news reports, the journalist, who spoke with CPJ in a phone interview, and a copy of the summons, which CPJ reviewed.
The summons states that authorities seek to question Malik, the president of the privately owned news channel Samaa TV, about an April 28 segment of the Nadeem Malik Live news program, which he hosts.
Malik told CPJ that he refused to appear for questioning, saying that he believed the summons was “illegal.”
“Pakistan’s Federal Investigation Agency must stop trying to question journalist Nadeem Malik about his reporting, and ensure that he can work without harassment,” said Steven Butler, CPJ’s Asia program coordinator, in Washington, D.C. “The agency’s unfortunate history of harassing journalists needs to come to an end, now.”
In that April 28 broadcast, Malik disclosed information he received regarding an alleged campaign to try to influence a judge in the 2018 corruption trial of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
The summons cites Section 160 of Pakistan’s criminal procedure code, a provision pertaining to authorities’ ability to summon witnesses in criminal cases. The summons states that authorities seek to question Malik about “relevant persons” involved in the alleged influence scheme; it does not say that Malik is accused of any crime.
CPJ emailed the Federal Investigation Agency director-general’s office for comment but did not receive any reply.