Mar 23, 2009

Gilgit Baltistan: Deteriorating Freedom of Press

Active ImagePakistani President, Asif Ali Zardari, has been urged to defend the freedom of press in Gilgit Baltistan.
Below is a statement released by the Gilgit Baltistan United Movement

Manzoor Hussain Parwana ,Chairman GBUM [Gilgit Baltistan United Movement] urged President Asif Ali Zardari and the rest of the Pakistan government to make it one of their priorities to defend press freedom in Gilgit Baltistan. Accompanied by representatives of Gilgit Baltistan United Movement on 20 March 2009 at the occasion of his attendance in the Court of Session judge Parwana addressed the press at Skardu.
“The press freedom situation is getting worse in Gilgit Baltistan and it is the government’s duty to reverse this disturbing trend,” Parwana said. “The country cannot continue to develop and progress towards democracy without a free and independent press. The president and his government must get fully involved in this issue and must take measures that give journalists more freedom to work.”
[Currently the monthly journal, Kargil International, is banned and the editor and publisher of the magazine have been in jail since 2004 because of their criticism of General Musharaf. For more information click here.]

The editor of the magazine, Engineer Manzoor Hussain Parwana and publisher Ghulam Shehzad Agha rejected the charges and said: “Instead of ensuring basic rights to the people of Gilgit-Baltistan, the government is humiliating and harassing them.”

The journalists must be freed as soon as possible. They committed no crime and this case, which has been marred by judicial irregularities, is a grave stain on Pakistan’s image Parwana added.