Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF) is concerned at the arrest of Dunya News correspondent Pir Muhammad Kakar on July 7 in the Loralai district of the Balochistan province. PPF urges authorities to provide more clarity about the reasons for the journalist’s arrest and ensure that legal due diligence is observed. To arrest a journalist for their work is condemnable and a tool to silence free speech.
Speaking to PPF, the journalist’s son, Ameerullah Kakar, said that his father was arrested because of his social media post alleging that the Loralai Deputy Commissioner Ateeq ur Rehman was involved in corruption. Ameerullah confirmed that Pir Muhammad remains in jail. “He is still in jail. He paid for his writings,” said Ameerullah.
According to Loralai Police Station Station House Officer (SHO) Kareem Mandokhel, Pir Muhammad posted many unsubstantiated claims on social media regarding Rehman.
On July 1, the deputy commission sent Pir Muhamsent a defamation notice which the journalist did not respond to. The SHO said that following this on July 6, a staff member for Rehman filed an appeal in a judicial court in Loralai and following court orders of non-bailable arrest warrants for the journalist, Pir Muhammad was arrested by local police.
The following day on July 7, Pir Muhammad was presented in the judicial court. The case has been transferred to a sessions court, where the matter will be presented today (July 13).
Balochistan Union of Journalist President and Dunya News Bureau Chief Irfan Saeed demanded the immediate release of Pir Muhammad.
Senior journalists including Hamid Mir called for Pir Muhammad’s immediate release.