Showing posts from September, 2018

Targeting the voices of dissent

The media in Pakistan is facing a tough time. Last week, the Lahore High Court issued non-bailable arrest warrants against Dawn Assistant Editor Cyril Almeida. The court also ordered the authorities to put Mr. Almeida’s name on the Exit Control List for not appearing before the court. This happened during the hearing of a petition that sought registration of treason cases against former Prime Ministers Nawaz Sharif and Shahid Khaqan Abbasi for an interview Mr. Sharif had given to to Mr Almeida earlier this year. The interview became controversial because Mr. Sharif said the 2008 Mumbai attacks “were carried out by people from Pakistan”.

In an Editor’s note, Dawn stated: “Mr. Almeida has no immediate plan to travel abroad, and will attend the proceedings of the case whenever desired by the honourable court.” There was widespread condemnation of the charges. Senior journalist Imtiaz Alam said the case shows how the media is being intimidated in Pakistan. “And without media freedom, ther…

Court suspends Sharif’s sentence

Islamabad High Court says NAB could not bring evidence against the Sharifs in corruption case

Members of Nawaz Sharif’s party celebrated his release on Wednesday after the Islamabad High Court suspended the jail sentences handed to the former Prime Minister, his daughter Maryam and son-in-law Captain Muhammad Safdar (retd.).

National Accountability Bureau (NAB) prosecutors have been criticised for presenting a weak case in the High Court. As reported in Dawn newspaper, Justice Athar Minallah remarked that “the NAB, after conducting thorough investigation, couldn’t bring any evidence of Nawaz Sharif’s ownership of the Avenfield apartments (in London), but you want us to admit his ownership on mere presumption”.

The High Court order comes a week after Mr. Sharif’s wife Kulsoom passed away. Mr. Sharif, Ms. Maryam and Captain Safdar were granted parole for five days to attend her funeral. They were sent back to Adiala Jail on Monday.

Supreme Court lawyer Faisal Chaudhry said the court has…

Imran Khan’s ‘New Pakistan’

Imran Khan’s dream has finally been fulfilled 22 years in to his political career: a career that started with idealism and came to be marked by pragmatism. His real political career has just begun.

We all knew the outcome of these elections but what did surprise a lot of us was the way it was pulled off a few hours after polling ended on July 25. The results of the elections in Pakistan were pre-determined. But what happened before the final results were announced left many of us shocked at how the powers-that-be did not even want to hide how much they were influencing the results. Even in a country where manipulating elections is nothing new, this brazenness was something new altogether.

I have been in the media for more than a decade now and have seen/covered the previous two elections, but have never witnessed the kind of censorship that we faced this time around. It was as if we just couldn’t tell the truth. We had to talk in a roundabout way to say that these elections were rigge…