IFJ Demands Release of Kidnapped Pakistani Journalist Latif Khosa

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has written to the Pakistan government demanding immediate action to ensure the safe release of abducted journalist Latif Khosa.

According to local reports Khosa, from the Urdu-language daily Jang, has been held by the army since his June 17 arrest.

Khosa was arrested in the southwestern province of Balochistan, reportedly under the orders of an army officer identified as Major Ali.

IFJ Asia-Pacific Director Jacqueline Park said the incident was a stark reminder of dangers Pakistani journalists face, and called on the government to take action.

“The Pakistan government should immediately investigate these allegations to make certain Khosa is returned unharmed, and the serious erosion of human rights in Pakistan does not continue,” Park said.

“As seen by the death of Sindh journalist Noor Ahmed Solangi, who was killed on the same day as Khosa’s capture, the safety of journalists in the tribal areas of Pakistan is extremely dire.”

It is alleged that the reason for Khosa’s arrest was linked to his coverage of recent clashes between security forces and Balochi nationalists.

“We are very concerned for the welfare of Khosa. Journalists in the past who have been detained by officials in the Balochistan province have been known to be subjected to torture,” Park said.

Last year in September, Saeed Sarbazi, joint secretary of the Karachi Press Club and senior sub-editor of the Business Recorder was abducted and claimed to have been tortured by intelligent agencies which included being beaten and kicked until he was unconscious.

This was also the case for Mehruddin Marri, journalist for Kawish, who was finally released four months after his abuction on June 27, 2006.

Both were interrogated for their alleged links with Balochi militants.

In a separate incident, BBC correspondent Nisar Khokhar and an accompanying local journalist were denied entry to Dera Bugti, a district of Balochistan, and detained for two hours by frontier police on June 15.

Khokhar and his accomplice were reportedly traveling to the region to investigate the reported detention of seven women in a military camp for three weeks by the Pakistani army.

“There is no excuse for these disgraceful and unjustified kidnappings and detainments,” Park said.

For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +61 2 9333 0919

The IFJ represents over 500,000 journalists in more than 115 countries