Two Pakistani journalists tortured for showing truth in Pakistan's quarantine centre

WION Web Team New Delhi, India Jul 03, 2020, 11.36 PM(IST)

File photo. Photograph:( ANI )

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'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,' the reporters said.

Two local Pakistan TV reporters were tortured for a coronavirus centre in the southwestern Balochistan province, reported Reporters Without Borders (RWF/RSF).

According to a report by Reporters Without Borders, 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 went missing for three days.

The two reporters were called to the Frontier Corps command centre in Chaman, a city near the Afghan border. The two reporters reappeared after three days, but with torture marks on their bodies.

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"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 said.

"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.

The Reporters Without Borders issued a report on June 20.

With the report, the RSF officials have called on the Balochistan Chief Minister to start an enquiry into the abduction and torture.

"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," said Daniel Bastard, head of RSF`s Asia-Pacific desk.

Daniel also added that that journalists in several areas of Pakistan, especially Chaman region, have been subjected to such tortures earlier too. According to the RSF`s 2020 World Press Freedom Index, Pakistan is ranked 145th out of 180.

(With inputs from agencies)