Police in Karachi, the largest city and media centre of Pakistan, raided the offices of a daily newspaper and three weekly magazines on July 19 and arrested two journalists for publishing hate literature. Police also picked up newspaper vendors from various localities for selling these magazines.
Police raided the office of Urdu weekly “Friday Special”, a subsidiary of daily “Jasarat”. They asked its assistant editor Abdul Latif Abu Shamil to hand over copies of the weekly and then arrested him. Daily Jasarat is a publication of the “Jamaat-i-Islami”, an opposition political party.
Police also raided the office of weekly “Wujood” arrested its editor Mohammad Tahir . Police claimed both journalists were arrested for publishing hate materials to create religious disharmony.
Police also raided the office weekly “Ghazi” and daily “Ummat” but no arrests were made.
On July 16, police raided the office of another weekly magazine “Zarb-i-Islam” and arrested its editor and reporter as well as a number of newspaper vendors.
Police claimed that the weeklies contained articles which could incite sentiments of people against other religions and cultures.Press reports quoting a police official said the action had been taken in compliance with directives of higher authorities.
Police also seized many copies of these magazines from different stalls in the city and also arrested some newspaper vendors. The national newspaper vendors association “All Pakistan Akhbar Farosh Federation” has threatened countrywide strike against the arrests of newspaper vendors. They alleged that police had arrested more than 30 hawkers from different areas of the city without any reason. “We have no link with politics”, they said, adding that police action against hawkers was illegal.
They demanded of the government to take immediate step in this regard and stop the police from taking away newspapers and magazines from stalls without paying for them.
The Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors (CPNE) has called an emergency meeting on July 20 to discuss the situation obtaining from the raid on offices of newspapers and magazines and arrest of the journalists and newspaper vendors.