Blogger Murdered in Pakistan
Freedom of Expression
Khurram Zaki, the outspoken editor of Let Us Build Pakistan (LUBP) was murdered in Karachi on the 8th May. The fearless blogger had drawn attention to combatting extremism, promoting religious plurality and had attempted to lodge criminal charges against some of Pakistan’s most feared clerics. Zaki was gunned down by unidentified assassins on a motorcycle.
Most recently, PEMRA (Pakistan Electronic Media Regulation Authority) imposed a ban on two TV shows during the month of Ramazan. The shows were banned because they showed activist Hamza Ali Abbasi discussing the alleged oppression of the Ahmadi community and Pakistan's blasphemy laws.
Freedom of peaceful assembly
On 17 th April, Pakistani authorities used draconian laws and excessive force to prevent tenant farmers in Punjab province from demonstrating for land rights. Farmers in Okara district had planned to protest in solidarity for the International Day of Peasants’ and Farmers’ Struggles but dozens were arrested as police beat protestors and fired tear gas. In a separate development in February, security personnel clashed with activists in Karachi who were protesting against government plans to privatise the ailing national airlines. The clashes resulted in two deaths and eight people injured. A recent report also drew attention to the security forces illegal arrest, enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings in the Balochistan province. In many instances, the authorities acted with impunity and on the pretext that individuals were involved in anti-state activities, under legislation designed to protect state sovereignty.