Islamabad [Pakistan], September 24 (ANI): Even as Prime Minister Imran Khan claims of no crackdown on Pakistan's journalists, Mubashir Zaidi, a journalist, has revealed that the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has registered cases against 49 journalists till date.
"Biggest crackdown against journalists & social media activists to date in Pakistan. (The) (Federal Investigation Agency) FIA register cases against 49 journalists & social media activists under PECA (Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act). Names include @UmarCheema1
@AzazSyed @murtazasolang @ammarmasood3 @AsadAToor @bilalfqi etc," Mubashir Zaidi said in a tweet.
"Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists call upon @pid_gov (Pakistan Government official handle) to withdraw the cases against journalists and social media activists otherwise there will be countrywide protests," he added.
Sherry Rehman, Pakistan Peoples Party Parliamentary Leader and former Leader of Opposition in the Senate, has slammed the Imran Khan government and called the move as a "blatant attempt" to muzzle "independent voices in the media".
Rehman said in a tweet, "Condemn this blatant attempt to muzzle independent voices in the media. The pretence is over. This govt is now using every tool to coerce, intimidate and censor the press in Pakistan...It is tainting the very name of democracy."
The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan also condemned the action of the PTI government demanding that the state refrain from such actions and stop using the FIA to curb political dissent.
"HRCP is alarmed by the news in circulation that the FIA is registering cases against 49 journalists and social media activists under PECA regulations. We demand that the state refrain from such action and stop using the FIA to curb political dissent," it tweeted.
Khan recently claimed that there is no crackdown on the media in Pakistan and yet the arrests clearly reveal the stark reality.
Earlier in July, a journalist named Matiullah Jan was abducted for his critical views on Pakistan's military establishment. He was subsequently released hours later.
Pakistan is ranked 145th out of 180 countries in Reporters Without Borders's (RSF) 2020 World Press Freedom Index, three places lower than in 2019. (ANI)