KARACHI: The Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) has condemned the Sindh government for conducting a raid on the house of journalist Shabbar Aazmi.
“The police raid on the house of bedridden Shabbar Aazmi, who suffered a paralysis attack a few months ago and is wheelchair-bound, is not only highly condemnable but also a shameless act,” said a joint statement issued by Afzal Butt, president of his own faction of PFUJ, and secretary general Ayub Jan Sarhandi.
They said the police raid was led by a man in plain clothes and appeared to be a part of the government’s plan to curb freedom of speech. “This is the second such action in Karachi during the last three days and speaks volumes about ill-intentions of the government,” the statement said.
The two leaders criticised the provincial government for failing to take any action against officials who are conducting such raids to harass the media. “We are surprised that a political party which has always stood for freedom of expression and fought military dictators is now itself allowing such acts in its own province,” Mr Butt and Mr Sarhandi said.
“We call upon Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari to seek an explanation from his party’s government in Sindh over these illegal actions and inform the journalist community about the forces which were behind these acts. “We reiterate that journalists across Pakistan cannot be cowed down by such tactics and that we will defend freedom of expression at all cost,” the joint statement said.
Meanwhile, a statement issued by Karachi police on Monday said they had not singled out Shabbar Aazmi’s house for any action.
Instead, it added, a combing operation of all the houses in a part of Gulistan-i-Jauhar was carried out after the blast in that area last week.