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Pakistan: A reporter jailed without trial, another abducted by suspected security agents

Two incidents in recent weeks have again highlighted the dangers for journalists in Pakistan. One is the detention of Ghulam Rasool Khan in the eastern province of Punjab without due process since November 3. The other is the disappearance of Abdul Hameed Hayatan, also known as Lala Hameed, in the southwestern province of Balochistan, where his colleagues think he was abducted by security officials.

Pakistani journalists are caught in a vice between terrorists who use threats and abductions, and local government officials who do not hesitate to take the law into their own hands in order to detain troublesome reporters.

Paris-based press freedom group Reporters sans Frontières (RSF) called on the federal information minister to intercede to obtain Khan’s release. If the judicial authorities think there are grounds for holding him, he should be given a fair trial. The press freedom organization also urges the information minister to get the interior minister to step up efforts to locate Hayatan.

The Pakistani correspondent of News Network International (NNI), Khan has been held for the past 12 days in Bahawalpur prison, in Punjab province. The district authorities used the provisions of a law for the maintenance of public order to detain him and his brother for one month without trial.

The real reason for his arrest was his coverage of local government corruption. He recently shed light on various cases of embezzlement and misuse of public funds in several Punjabi government departments.

A newspaper reporter for the Daily Karachi and Tawar, Abdul Hameed Hayatan was reportedly kidnapped by plain-clothes security agents in a 4WD jeep in the port city of Gwadar on October 25. He supports the Baloch Nation Movement (BNM), which is regarded by the authorities as a separatist group. His family and colleagues have had no news of him since his abduction.

Date posted: November 15, 2010 Last modified: May 23, 2018 Total views: 79