LAHORE: Journalist bodies have condemned the arrest of Lahore-based newsman Shahid Aslam by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) for his alleged involvement in the release of tax records of former army chief.
The FIA shifted the journalist to Islamabad, where a court remanded him to custody for two days on Saturday.
At the time of his appearance before the court, Mr Aslam claimed he was being pressured to reveal the passwords of his laptop and mobile phone, which he would never do.
Condemning the arrest, the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists, Afzal Butt faction, announced moving the Islamabad High Court against the FIA’s action. PFUJ president Afzal Butt and secretary general Arshad Ansari termed the arrest an attack on press freedom and reminded Federal Minister for Information Marriyum Aurangzeb that the action was a violation of an IHC verdict in which the FIA had been directed not to take action against any journalist without taking the PFUJ leadership in confidence.
Demanding immediate release of Mr Aslam, they warned of staging countrywide protests if the demand was not met. Both factions of Punjab Union of Journalists — led by Ibrahim Lucky and Shehzad Hussain respectively — declared the FIA action “against the freedom of expression”.
Lahore Press Club president Azam Chaudhry, general secretary Abdul Majeed Sahid and others also condemned the arrest and demanded immediate release of Mr Aslam, a council member of the LPC. They counselled the newsmen to take care while writing anything about the sensitive institutions and their officials.
Published in Dawn, January 16th, 2023
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