Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has grown increasingly bold in his steps to consolidate power and silence critical voices ever since his Muslim League party swept the polls in 1997. CPJ first called attention to this pattern of repression at the end of 1998, when Sharif and his associates very nearly destroyed Pakistan's largest newspaper publishing house using a range of punishing tactics.
Najam Sethi, founding editor of The Friday Times, was prevented from flying to London on June 23 to accept Amnesty International's award for "Journalists Under Threat." Though the government has dropped all sedition-related charges against him, Sethi's name still appears on the government's Exit Control List, his passport has been seized by Pakistan's Intelligence Bureau, and he faces over two dozen cases of tax evasion.
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