Pakistani journalist abducted, interrogated

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has expressed anger at the Pakistani Government for allegedly abducting and interrogating senior a DAWN TV correspondent.

According to the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ), an IFJ affiliate, Babar Hussain was reportedly arrested by members of the intelligence agency and was subjected to intensive questioning about his family, work and political leanings.

It appears that his mistreatment occurred in response to his recent reporting on the latest suicide bombing in the capital.

IFJ Asia Pacific Director Jacqueline Park condemned Hussain’s treatment as ‘horrendous’ and a breach of the most very basic of human rights.

‘‘The government must be brought to bear on this most heinous of crimes against a human being,’’ Park said.

‘‘Basic freedom of speech and assurance of personal safety is imperative in any effective industry, especially those dealing with dangerous topics such as war or civil unrest,’’ she said.

Hussain’s detainment is the latest in a string of crimes against journalists and their families that have rocked Pakistan in recent months.

Two days ago the son of another journalist, Shakeel Turbai, was badly beaten by a gang of men in retaliation for a published exposé.

To date, Hussain’s kidnapping is the eighth such instance of a journalist being abducted in Pakistan since 2006. 

A further ten journalists have been killed, while at least another six have been personally threatened.

The IFJ reiterates the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists’ (PFUJ) call to the international community to acknowledge the violence, and urges them to raise their collective voices in protest.   

According to the PFUJ, a demonstration protesting the kidnapping has been organised by its affiliate, the Rawaindi-Islamabad Union of Journalists (RIUJ) to be held today in Islamabad.

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

The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 114 countries