28 January 1998


Journalists freed from charges

Incident details

Irfanul Haq



(PPF/IFEX) - On 27 January 1998, charges of publishing objectionable
materials laid against the editors, joint editor and reporters of the daily
newspaper "Pakistan" were withdrawn. The Punjab government, following
directions from Shehbaz Sharif, the Punjab Chief Minister, also apologized
for having handcuffed the journalists who had been arrested on 19 January in
Lahore for publishing objectionable material. The arrests had been strongly
deplored by the media and human rights organizations such as the Council of
Pakistan Newspaper Editors (CPNE). Ahmad Ali Khan, president of the CPNE,
affirmed that nothing that the press might have written or reported could
justify the use of violence. He also deplored the high handedness and
humiliation to which the editors of "Pakistan" were subjected by police,
adding that if the authorities had thought that the newspaper had published
something illegal, they should have pursued the matter in a proper court of
law (see IFEX action alert of 22 January 1998).

**Updates IFEX action alerts of 22 January 1998 and 16 January 1998**

Also, Irfanul Haq, editor-in-chief of the daily newspaper "Lashkar", has
been released from contempt of court charges by a division bench of the
Balochistan High Court while pursuing an inter-court appeal. The Balochistan
High Court had sentenced Haq and Iftikhar Adil, the printer/publisher of
"Lashkar", to six months imprisonment and a fine of Rs. 5000 for a story
printed in the newspaper concerning the chief justice. Adil was released on
12 January (see IFEX action alert update of 16 January 1998).


Pakistan Press Foundation
Press Centre
Shahrah Kamal Ataturk
Karachi 74200
ppf (@) pakistanpressfoundation.org
Fax:+92 21 221 7069
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