The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and its affiliate the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) express concerns over the detention of a senior journalist and blogger in tribal area of Waziristan, Pakistan on Monday October 28, 2014.
According to reports, Shehryar Mehsud, a columnist at the Urdu daily Akhbar-e-Khyber, was arrested on the orders of the political administration of South Waziristan allegedly for exposing the ‘corruption of political agents’ in development projects. Mehsud had received threatening calls from the administrators after he wrote a column on corruption.
The local journalists’ community believes that Mehsud’s arrest is an attempt to silence the journalists. Pakistan is quickly becoming one of the most dangerous countries for journalists, with 13 journalists killed this year so far. The culture of impunity in Pakistan, which includes threats like the ones Mehsud receive continue to weaken press freedom across the country. Mehsud was detained overnight and subsequently released.
The PFUJ said: “The PFUJ demands that Governor of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, federal minister for state and frontiers region and federal government should intervene in the issue and hold inquiry into the case both corruption charges and illegal detention.”
IFJ acting director, Jane Worthington, said: “Journalists in Pakistan, especially in the tribal areas, face hostile condition to carry out their profession. It’s a matter of serious concern that state agencies that should be supporting journalists by ensuring their safety and security are detaining and threatening journalists.”
The IFJ further added: “The IFJ urge the Pakistan government to immediately launch an investigation on the detention so as to ensure free flow of information and opinion.”