FN Calls On KP Govt To Protect Hangu Journalist

Freedom Network has called on Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Pervez Khattak to order Hangu district administration to protect a senior journalist from any harm banned militant organization Taliban are posing since August 24.

“Journalist Umar Farooq Paracha’s life is in danger and the provincial government of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf is under legal and moral obligation to protect the journalist and pre-empt any attempt by any non-state actor,” Freedom Network [FN] said in a press freedom alert on September 13, 2015.

The FN also urged the journalist’s employer – Dunya News TV channel – to take care of its staffer’s security concerns and play its due role to relocate the journalist temporarily inside the country to stay safe.

Umar Farooq Paracha moved his family to a safer place and restricted his movement to avoid any attempt on his life as the Taliban sent him August 24 last that a “campaign against some journalists” is on the cards and his name is among those journalists to be targeted.

Federal Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan told a news conference in Islamabad on Monday (August 24, 2015) that “no terrorist network left capable of operating in Pakistan.”

“I let all concerned people know my security concerns. I even informed my organization and even the district administration of Hangu district,” the journalist told FN on Sunday (September 13, 2015) via phone from his town where the Taliban operated recently.

He shared the threatening email in Urdu language from the TTP reading that the TTP was awaiting approval of the hit-list by its Shura, council, to target “some journalists” and it added that the list also included the name of the recipient of this mail – Umar Farooq Paracha.

“Are you a journalist or soldier (of Pakistan Army)?” the email asks the journalist aiming to mentally torture him for reason that his channel was not reporting the TTP activities after the school attack in Peshawar December 2014.

The journalist’s family is under great stress since he shared the threat with them. “My mother and wife in great stress since they knew of the threatening email,” Umar Farooq spoke of mental stress he and his family is suffering.

The TTP accused the journalist in the email that he was the first to receive a video of Taliban having made a missile – Omar One. However, no reporting took place anywhere on any channel. The email added that the “accused reserves the right to explain himself.”

It said the decision on the hit-list was expected soon but the TTP email gave no exact date.

Two motorcyclists visiting the journalist home late Monday evening worried the family stopping kids from going to school and keeping the journalist restricted inside home.

Many journalists RSF spoke to said that after the Peshawar school attack by Taliban in December last year TV channels stopped the militants’ version after the National Action Plan against terrorism was launched early this year.

“When we argue with the Taliban that central newsroom takes the decision to broadcast which story they ask us to quit journalism and join their ranks,” Umar Farooq said.

“We cannot balance our stories because one or the party’s version is blocked, thus, putting us in extremely dangerous situation. There is great pressure on us,” he added.

 

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