By Ashrafuddin Pirzada
KARACHI: The Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (Dastoor), and the Karachi Union of Journalists (Dastoor), have expressed grave concern over conviction of senior journalist Nasarullah Chaudhry for allegedly possessing banned literature.
An anti-terrorist court last week sentenced Chaudhry, who works for local Urdu daily Nae Baat, to five years in prison for possessing some magazines containing banned literature.
On Nov. 8 2018, the law enforcing agencies had raised the Karachi Press Club , the country’s oldest and prestigious journalist facility, inviting a barrage of criticism across Pakistan and abroad.
The very next day, the counter terrorism department of Karachi police raided Nasarullah’s house and arrested him. They claimed to have recovered so-called banned literature, a move journalist bodies dubbed as an attempt to justify Nasarullah’s arrest and raid on press club
The police kept Nasarullah in illegal confinement for the next three days, and showed his arrest following countrywide protests and condemnation from international organizations, including Reporters Without Borders, and International Federation of Journalists (IFJ).
The Sindh High Court had granted bail to Nasarullah after a week.
In a joint statement, the journalist bodies noted that the government through law enforcing agencies and other tactics, which include, torture, threats and harassment, has been trying to pressure the journalists with impunity.
Several journalists, the statement said, had been abducted, tortured and implicated in false and fabricated cases in recent past by different state institutions in an attempt to stifle the freedom of expression.
Also, it went on to say, several journalists had been booked under terrorism charges in several districts of Sindh, in recent weeks.
The PFUJ and the KUJ vowed that their struggle for freedom of press would continue despite all such illegal tactics.