Bloggers Kidnapped in Pakistan…Fingers Pointed at Security Agencies

An activist holding an image of Salman Haider during a protest to condemn the disappearances of social activists, in Karachi, Pakistan, this month. Credit Akhtar Soomro/Reuters

An activist holding an image of Salman Haider during a protest to condemn the disappearances of social activists, in Karachi, Pakistan, this month

Islamabad- In the three past weeks, Pakistani media reported extensively on the disappearance of four bloggers in different regions of Pakistan. Many media outlets and civil society organizations have accused international intelligence bodies of standing behind the kidnap of these bloggers. However, a TV host took a different position by accusing all media outlets and the abducted bloggers of being atheists working against the interest of Pakistan. He also accused media outlets and The Research and Analysis Wing, a primary foreign Intelligence agency of India, of being a part of a plot aiming to distort of the reputation of Pakistani intelligence.

This rebellion host, Aamir Liaquat Hussain appeared on BOL TV in a daily show. During his program, he focused on attacking activists and journalists who call for releasing the abducted bloggers.

Among people accused by Liaquat was a lawyer who filed a complaint to the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) against the TV host. PEMRA banned Liaquat from appearing on TV. In his complaint, the lawyer said that the TV host deceptively accused him of being an atheist and partaking in plans opposing Pakistan and Islam.

For its part, PEMRA said it received several complaints concerning the hate speech delivered by Liaquat. Therefore, the Research and Analysis Wing ordered Bol New to cease the airing of all hateful content, specifically Liaquat’s show.

The agency stated it has banned Liaquat from appearing on any other channel, promoting hate speech or accusing anyone of non-belief.

These accusations and offenses have become a trend on the Pakistani media. Journalists and TV channels have wrongly exploited their influence to distort one another’s reputation, by using provocative, insulting speeches. Accusations of betrayal have also spread among competing TV hosts.

An eminent journalist told Asharq Al-Awsat that verbal clashes among Pakistani journalists and media figures have always happened in the country. The ideological discords between media influencers were the reasons behind the battles on Pakistan in the seventies and eighties, he added.

However, the current tension has extended to Pakistani outlets working abroad. ARY Network had falsely accused Editor-in-Chief Jang and Geo group Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman of being a traitor and enemy of the state who deceived the nation and conspired with other countries against Pakistan. ARY failed to prove these allegations in court and admitted that it has no evidence to back its vile claims. The court ordered ARY to pay £3 million in damages and costs.

(Source / 28.02.2017)

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