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Criticising ISI has become fashion for Western media: Pakistan minister

Says people name intelligence agencies to seek asylum abroad

SAMAA | - Posted: May 29, 2021 | Last Updated: 5 months ago
Posted: May 29, 2021 | Last Updated: 5 months ago

Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said on Friday that criticising Pakistan’s premier intelligence agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence, has become a fashion for the Western media.

Chaudhry said this in an interview with Stephen Sackur on BBC HARDtalk. He contested the claims about press freedom and protection of journalists in the country.

"Pakistan is probably one of the freest states as far as the media is concerned," the minister said. "We have about 43 international channels, including the BBC, here in Pakistan."

The country has 112 private channels, 258 FM stations and 1,569 print publications, he said, adding that the size of media itself defies claims about press freedom in Pakistan.

"It's a bit fashionable for the Western media to accuse ISI every time such incidents happen," Chaudhry said.

"And I know that there has been a history of people using and taking names of intelligence agencies to get immigration."

Chaudhry's comments came days after journalist Asad Ali Toor was brutally assaulted by unidentified men at his Islamabad home.

Footage of a CCTV camera outside Toor’s apartment showed three men exiting his house. Later, the journalist was seen coming out of the flat with his hands and feet tied with clothes.

Toor is known for his court reporting and criticism of the establishment. He runs his own YouTube channel.

This was the third such incident in Islamabad in the recent past.

Absar Alam, a veteran journalist and the former Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority chairman, was shot and injured in the city last month.

In July 2020, another journalist Matiullah Jan was abducted from outside his wife’s school in Islamabad’s G-6 sector.

His abduction was caught on a CCTV camera too. Jan was taken away by several men in black uniforms and plainclothes.

He was, however, released by his abductors after 12 hours.

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Pakistan, ISI, Fawad Chaudhry, Western media, BBC, Hard Talk, Asad Toor, journalist, press freedom, media

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