Pakistan

Journalists and critics continue to be targeted despite political transition in Pakistan

In recent months, individuals have been detained for critical tweets, while journalists have been assaulted, detained, and harassed. Some face multiple charges for criticising state institutions. The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) has issued directives warning the media against criticising state institutions. Protests against disappearances and electricity cuts have been met with arrests or excessive force. In addition, the prosecution of human rights activist Muhamad Ismail has continued, as detailed below Read more

Journalists and critics continue to be targeted despite political transition in Pakistan

Pakistani journalists, activists remain at risk while new restrictions against online dissent passed

In recent months, the government the has enacted amendments to the cybercrime law which threatens to stifle online dissent while journalists have been harassed, criminalised and even allegedly tortured. Further, a new law to protect journalists has imposed new censorship mechanisms. A social media activist was assassinated in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, while human rights defender Idris Khattak has been convicted and sentenced after an unfair trial. The judicial harassment of human rights activist Muhamad Ismail has continued, and the authorities have continued to target leaders of the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM), while enforced disappearances have affected hundreds of families. Read more

Pakistani journalists, activists remain at risk while new restrictions against online dissent passed

Civil society slams harassment of journalists, proposed media law, stifling of protests in Pakistan

In recent months, journalists and activists have been arbitrarily detained or abducted and questioned by the police due to their work critical of the state. A proposed media regulator has been rejected by journalists and civil society. Police used excessive force against protesting doctors in Punjab and arbitrarily barred a protest against gender-based violence in Faisalabad. Read more

Civil society slams harassment of journalists, proposed media law, stifling of protests in Pakistan

Unrelenting assault on the media and other civic freedoms in Pakistan

In recent months attacks on civic space have persisted in Pakistan which is rated as ‘repressed’ by the CIVICUS Monitor. The has been an unrelenting assault on the media, with journalists being attacked, criminalised and taken off the air. A stringent new media law is being proposed that will undermine press freedom and legal amendments have been proposed to criminalise criticism of the military. Leaders of the ethnic Pashtun movement continue to face judicial harassment while the authorities are deliberately stalling the functioning of the national human rights body Read more

Unrelenting assault on the media and other civic freedoms in Pakistan

Attacks on Aurat March, minorities and critics highlight shrinking space for dissent in Pakistan

In recent months, intimidation and threats against women activists involved in the Aurat March have been experienced, while groups continue to raise concerns about enforced disappearances. Pashtun activists have been arrested for their comments during protests while transgender persons have continued to face attacks. The authorities also attempted to increase controls over the media while three people were sentenced to death for online blasphemy. Read more

Attacks on Aurat March, minorities and critics highlight shrinking space for dissent in Pakistan

Targeting of human rights defenders and enforced disappearances in Pakistan continue

Human rights groups and the UN have raised concerns about human rights defender Idris Khattak a year on from his enforced disappearance. Human rights defender Muhammed Ismail, the Secretary-General of the Pakistan NGO Forum (PNF), and his wife Uzlifat Ismail continue to be targeted by the authorities. Enforced disappearances targeting students, activists, journalists and human rights defenders have continued relentlessly in Pakistan’s southwestern province of Balochistan. Read more

Targeting of human rights defenders and enforced disappearances in Pakistan continue

Activists and journalists facing harassment, being forcibly disappeared or killed in Pakistan

Pakistan remains a dangerous place for activists and journalists. Over the last few months, a number of individuals have been victims of enforced disappearances including journalist Matiullah Jan, political activist Mohammad Amin and human rights defenders Idris Khattak and Sarang Joyo. No one has been held accountable for these crimes. Editor-in-chief of the Jang group, Shakilur Rehman and family are facing judicial harassment while anti-corruption journalist from Balochistan, Anwar Jan Kethran was killed. Academics have also been accused of blasphemy or sedition. Read more

Activists and journalists facing harassment, being forcibly disappeared or killed in Pakistan

Pashtun activists targeted amid pandemic while press increasingly muzzled in Pakistan

In recent months, Pashtun activists continue to be targeted while women’s rights activists continue to face risk and attacks. There has been a lack of accountability over the enforced disappearance of Idris Khattak, activist Muhammad Ismail continues to face judicial harassment, while the state has continued to silence critical media and block online content. Healthcare workers were also arrested for protesting against the lack of protective equipment amid the coronavirus pandemic. Read more

Pashtun activists targeted amid pandemic while press increasingly muzzled in Pakistan

Activists disappeared or arrested in Pakistan while media faces restrictions and threats

Over the last few months, Pakistani human rights defender Idris Khattak was forcibly disappeared, activist Muhammad Ismail was arbitrarily detained on trumped up charges, while his daughter and women rights activist Gulalai Ismail fled the country. The authorities also denied entry to a representative from the Committee to Protect Journalists' (CPJ), warned news anchors not to express their opinions, while journalists from the Dawn newspaper faced threats for their reporting. Student protesters including Alamgir Wazir were arrested and charged for their activism. Read more

Activists disappeared or arrested in Pakistan while media faces restrictions and threats

Lack of accountability for Pashtun rights protesters killed and injured in North Waziristan

In the last few months, state repression against the Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM) a mass movement promoting the rights of the Pashtun people has persisted as well as journalists covering the movement. Human rights defender Gulalai Ismail remains at risk of arrest for her activism, journalists are being monitored on social media and despite commitments by the authorities to address enforced disappearances including of activists, progress has been slow. Read more

Lack of accountability for Pashtun rights protesters killed and injured in North Waziristan