IFJ Protests Against Unjustified Arrests of Six Journalists in Pakistan

The International Federation of Journalists has sent a letters of protest to the President of Pakistan, General Pervez Musharraf and the Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Mr. Sheikh Rashid Ahmed expressing its concern over the arrest of six journalists under the anti terrorism act, who were covering a protest against Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf.



The IFJ has protested to the President of Pakistan, General Pervez Musharraf in the following letter:


1 September 2003


General Pervez Musharraf

President and Chief Executive of Pakistan


Via Email: CE@pak.gov.pk


CC.

Federal Minister Information and Broadcasting

Mr. Sheikh Rashid Ahmed


Via Email: infominister@infopak.gov.pk



Dear General Musharraf,


The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), the global organisation of journalists representing over 500,000 journalists worldwide, is deeply concerned over the arrest of journalists Nadeem Panhwar, Hakim Chandio, Sharif Abro, Irfan Burfat, Shahid Khushk and Haji Khan Sial in Hyderabad, Pakistan.


According to our information, on 26 August the six journalists were arrested under the terrorism act, and were charged with for disturbing the peace and for violent acts


The journalists were covering a demonstration organised by the women's branch of the Sindh Chandia Welfare Association, which coincided with the arrival of your Excellency at Mehran University in Jamshoro, where you addressed a meeting of vice-chancellors.


According to our information journalists throughout the Sindh province have been deeply outraged over the arrests and on the 28th August staged a walkout and informed provincial ministers about the arrests whilst covering the Sindh Assembly proceedings.


The IFJ urges the Government of Pakistan to release the journalists immediately and reminds the Government of Pakistan of the independent nature of journalism.


Journalists must be recognized as independent and separate from the incidents that they report on. It is essential that journalists be allowed to work free from fear and violence and fear of censorship. It is important that journalists be free to provide a voice for all groups in society.



Yours sincerely,




Christopher Warren

President, IFJ



Recommended action:


Send appeals:


  • Expressing concern over the arrest of the six journalists

  • Urging the Government of Pakistan to release the journalists immediately

  • Remind the Government of Pakistan to respect the independence and freedom of the Pakistani press.



  • Appeals:


    General Pervez Musharraf

    President and Chief Executive of Pakistan

    Via Email: CE@pak.gov.pk


    Federal Minister Information and Broadcasting

    Sheikh Rashid Ahmed

    Via Email: infominister@infopak.gov.pk



    For more information please contact Jacqui Park at ifj-asia@alliance.org.au


    Please copy appeals to the IFJ Asia Office at ifj-asia@alliance.org.au