HRCP calls KPC raid an attack on sanctity of institution of press club

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The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has taken grave notice of the escalation in curbs on press freedom – most recently, the intrusion of reportedly armed plainclothes men into the Karachi Press Club (KPC) and the allegedly illegal detention of senior journalist Nasrullah Khan.

In a statement issued today, HRCP has said: ‘Regrettably, HRCP has seen little – if any – improvement in the state of press freedom since the new government took office. The raid on the KPC was an attack on the sanctity of the institution of the press club. This sets a dangerous precedent and compounds the hostile environment in which more and more journalists are compelled to operate.

Moreover, the reportedly illegal detention of Nasrullah Khan is cause for serious concern. There appears to be insufficient evidence for having detained him, allegedly on charges of ‘possession’ of proscribed material – which often enough is part of any journalist’s research. The right to due process applies universally and can only strengthen journalists’ integrity and civil society’s respect for the (often difficult) job they do.

‘HRCP demands that the government investigate the KPC raid swiftly and transparently, and provide a more plausible explanation than that issued so far – putting this down to a technical error, as claimed by the Sindh government, does not excuse the incident or the way in which journalists at the press club say they were harried.

Nasrullah Khan’s detainment and any unfair allegations against him must be explained and resolved. HRCP also supports the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists’ (PFUJ) call for journalists to demonstrate countrywide on 14 November and stands in solidarity with them.’