Wed, 05 Aug 2020

Balochistan [Pakistan], July 3 (ANI): Two Pakistan TV reporters were recently tortured for three days by the paramilitary force for covering a quarantine centre located in southwestern Balochistan province, reported Reporters Without Borders (RWF/RSF) while condemning the incident and calling for swift justice.

According to the report, on June 20 Saeed Ali Achakzai, a reporter for the Urdu-language Samaa News TV, and Abdul Mateen Achakzai, a reporter for the Pashtun-language Khyber News TV were called to the Frontier Corps command centre in Chaman, a city near the Afghan border. After three days, they reappeared with their bodies covered with the marks of torture.

"We were blindfolded and taken to a place where we were handed over to the Anti-Terrorism Force that is operated by the Balochistan Levies, and the ATF took us to the notorious Machh prison and tortured us there to the point that you can see signs of the torture on our back," Abdul Mateen Achakzai was quoted as saying.

"We had been getting WhatsApp messages threatening us with arrest, because the deputy commissioner and paramilitary force commanders were unhappy with our coverage of a public protest against the poor facilities at the quarantine centre," he added.

Reacting to the incident, Daniel Bastard, head of RSF's Asia-Pacific desk, said, "It is absolutely unacceptable that representatives of the security forces should commit acts of torture simply because they didn't like what these two journalists reported...We call on Balochistan chief minister Jam Kamal Khan to order a judicial enquiry into those responsible for their abduction so that this shocking press freedom violation does not remain unpunished. The credibility of the rule of law in Pakistan is at stake."The RSF reported that the journalists working in the Chaman region are frequently subjected to harassment because it is a hub of all sorts of trafficking between Pakistan and Afghanistan. The journalists covering stories linked to such kind of incidents often end up risking their lives.

According to the RSF's 2020 World Press Freedom Index, Pakistan is ranked 145th out of 180.(ANI)

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