The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) strongly condemns the violent and oppressive reaction of Pakistan's authorities to journalists supporting press freedom.
On 3 May, World Press Freedom Day, rallies across Pakistan were marred by police brutality and targeted arrests. According to the IFJ affiliate, the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ), dozens of journalists were beaten and detained in Islamabad, and police baton-charged journalists in Lahore during the rallies.
"On a day when journalists around the world mark the vital importance of a free and independent media, Pakistan authorities have intimidated their own journalists with violence and arrests," said IFJ President Christopher Warren.
In the capital Islamabad, leaders of Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) and its affiliate Rawalpindi-Islamabad Union of Journalists (RIUJ) were arrested by police during a rally outside Parliament House. The President of PFUJ, Pervaiz Shoukat, plus former Secretaries General of PFUJ, Fouzia Shahid and CR Shamsi were detained by police for more than two hours before being released.
"To target the leaders of these journalists' organisations is an affront to all journalists in Pakistan," said the IFJ, the global organisation representing over 500,000 journalists worldwide.
In Lahore, a number of journalists were injured when police baton-charged a rally organised by Punjab Union of Journalists, (PUJ), an affiliate of PFUJ. Police blocked the rally as they tried to stage a demonstration outside the chief minister house.
In Karachi, journalists and rights groups staged a sit-in outside Governor House to condemn the police action against journalists in Islamabad and Lahore.
"By attempting to silence journalists, Pakistan authorities are ruling out the possibility of true democracy," said Warren.
The IFJ condemns all acts of violence against journalists in Pakistan and urges the Pakistan Government to ensure journalists are not harassed or brutalised by its security forces.
For further information contact Christopher Warren on +61 411 757 668
The IFJ represents over 500,000 journalists in more than 110 countries