Pakistani police on Wednesday arrested a prominent TV journalist known for his support for former premier Imran Khan, prompting an outcry that the move is an attack on freedom of the press.
Imran Riaz Khan, a TV talk show host and famous YouTuber, was arrested late on Tuesday on the outskirts of the capital, for allegedly inciting hatred and maligning the country’s powerful military.
“The arrest of Imran Riaz Khan, a front line critic of the present government and the military establishment, is significant,’’ Fawad Chaudhry, the former Pakistan information minister told dpa on Wednesday.
Khan, had openly supported the Pakistani army in the past, said he was recently harassed for raising questions about the army.
He had predicted his arrest on his YouTube channel.
Chaudhry said that the current Pakistani government is “a fascist government’’ that is “trying to rule by fear.’’
Meanwhile, the journalist had recorded a video that went viral at the time of arrest, showing him sitting in a car surrounded by police officials.
He said the authorities had registered 20 cases against him in different cities but he would continue his work.
khan was intercepted before he could secure pre-arrest bail from the high court.
The arrest triggered condemnation. #WeStandWithImranRiaz is among the top trending topics in Pakistan.
Journalists were seen cautiously commenting and condemning the arrest.
“The issue at hand is not which side Imran Riaz Khan was supporting. The issue is that if you fall out with the establishment you face the consequences,’’ Mubashir Zaidi, a senior journalist said.
Former premier Imran Khan also condemned the arrest and asked masses to “stand up against this fascism.’’
However, his party said it would organise protests against the arrest.
Source : Daily Nigerian