Journalists and members of the civil society attended a demonstration organised by the Young Journalists of Pakistan (YJP) outside the Karachi Press Club on Tuesday evening to protest against the alleged harassment and detention of a journalist, Fawad Hasan.
Hasan, who is associated with Express Tribune, was allegedly picked up by security officials from the University of Karachi on Monday and then released after an hour. The incident occurred after Hasan left a condolence reference organised by the Karachi University Teachers Society in memory of the varsity’s former associate professor Dr Hasan Zafar Arif at the institution’s Department of International Relations.
Seventy-three-year-old Dr Arif, the Pakistan chief for the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-London, was found dead in his car in Ibrahim Hyderi on January 14. Speaking at Tuesday’s protest, vice chairperson of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), Asad Butt, decried the use of such intimidatory tactics.
He urged the authorities concerned to do away with such methods, warning that they would cause more harm than good to the country. The rights activist asserted that there could be no justification for detaining journalists or any other person who voices dissent.
Speaking about Hasan, who is also a founding member of YJP, another representative said the journalist was picked up for his opinions. “His crime was that he spoke about the prevailing occupation at Karachi University, be it the patronage of religious extremists or the occupation of university resources. Every issue that upsets the power or wealth of certain quarters automatically becomes an attack on religion or national security and upholders of truth like Hasan are labelled infidels or traitors.”
The YJP called for an end to the culture of harassment and impunity, urging the country’s chief justice and legislators to take notice of such incidents and to bring the perpetrators to book. The demonstrators also appreciated the Karachi University Teachers’ Society (KUTS) for protesting with the vice chancellor against Hasan’s detention.