The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) expresses serious concern over the arrest of a young journalist in Quetta, Balochistan, Pakistan on June 25 for criticising the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) on social media. The IFJ demands immediate release of the journalist and dropping of all charges.
Zafarullah Achakzai, 21-year-old chief reporter of Qudrat daily, was arrested by the paramilitary Frontiers Corps under the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act 2016 and handed over to the Federal Investigation Agency. The journalist was produced in the court of the Judicial Magistrate, who remanded him for six days in custody.
Zafarullah’s father Naimatullah Achakzai, who owns and edits Qudrat, claimed that the reason for his journalist son’s arrest was “Facebook posts.” He said local police authorities were unhappy with him after he uploaded video of a lawmaker who was arrested in connection with alleged murder of traffic police in Quetta.
The Balochistan Union of Journalists (BUJ) and other newspapers bodies expressed serious concern over Zafarullah’s arrest.
The IFJ said: “The IFJ is seriously concerned by the arrest of a young journalist for his social media posts that criticized the security agencies. The act of the authorities to arrest him shows the intolerance towards criticism and is against the rule of law and the right to freedom of expression. The IFJ urges the immediate release of journalist Zafarullah Achakzai and dropping of charges against him.”
For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +61 2 9333 0946
The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 140 countries
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