The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is deeply concerned about the increasing number of journalists kidnapped and tortured in Pakistan, after Kawish journalist Mehruddin Marri, who was abducted on June 27, was released after four months of torture.
“While the IFJ welcomes Marri’s release, we are alarmed by the authorities’ continued use of kidnapping and torture as a frightening way of silencing journalists,” IFJ President Christopher Warren said.
“The government of Pakistan must intervene immediately to ensure these terrible crimes, and abuse of power by authorities, do not continue,” Warren said.
Marri was reportedly released on October 24 by military intelligence officers, after being interrogated, beaten, and suffering electric shocks and other forms of torture, in an attempt to make him confess ties with the Baluch nationalist movement.
Marri is just one of many journalists in Pakistan who have been kidnapped and tortured this year, with some never returning.
On June 16, the body of journalist Hayatullah Khan was discovered, six months after his December 6, 2005, abduction by masked assailants near the tribal area of North Waziristan.
Senior journalist Saeed Sarbazi, joint secretary of the Karachi Press Club, senior Sub-Editor of daily Business Recorder and the member All Pakistan Newspapers Employees Confederation’s National Executive Committee, endured similar torture to Marri when kidnapped on September 20 and returned two days later after he was blindfolded, beaten and kicked until unconscious, called a terrorist and criminal despite identifying himself as a journalist, and prevented from eating or sleeping.
Geo News reporter Mukesh Rupeta and freelance cameraman Sanjay Kumar, went missing on March 6, and nothing more was heard from them by their employers or family until June 22, when their arrest was officially announced, and they were admitted to hospital because of their deteriorating health.
Furthermore, one of the founders of the Baluchi-language TV station Baloch Voice, Munir Mengal, is still missing after disappearing on April 7.
The IFJ, the organisation representing more than 500,000 journalists in over 115 countries, has called for a full investigation into the kidnapping and torture of Marri, Sarbazi, Rupeta and Kumar, and into the disappearance of Mengal, and again demands the release of the findings of the investigation into Khan’s murder.
For more information please contact IFJ Asia Pacific +61 2 9333 0919
The IFJ represents more than 500,000 journalists in over 115 countries