The government needs to take serious steps to protect the journalists in Balochistan as the fatalities, harassment and torture of journalists is at an all time high in the area.
The demand was made by senior journalists while speaking at a seminar held to express solidarity with the journalists of Balochistan in response to a call by the Balochistan Union of Journalists at the South Asian Free Media Association (SAFMA) Office. Opening the discussion, SAFMA Pakistan head Imtiaz Alam termed the increasing hostility and threats to the journalists in Balochistan quite alarming. He mentioned that the extremist groups in the area pressurized the journalists to print their press releases verbatim, no matter how offensive and obscene they might be. He said that the government institutions, including the security establishment of Balochistan, also pressurized the journalists to cater to their demands. Caught between the two pressure groups, the journalists had no where to go and they had become victims in the end, he said. Quetta Press Club president Saleem Shahid also participated in the seminar over the phone and shared the sorry state of affairs regarding freedom of expression and security of the journalists in Balochistan. Speakers, including Khalid CHaudhry, former law minister Ahsan Masood, PFUJ office bearer Asad Sahi, expressed their solidarity with the journalists of Balochistan and said that the journalists community across the country was going to pursue the government to handle this issue of grave importance on emergent basis and protect the journalists against all harm.