Imran Riaz Khan, who is an anchor has become the talk of the town after being arrested last night. His arrest was not only condemned by the people of Pakistan but also by ex-prime minister Imran Khan.
Since his arrest, he has been trending on social media, however, the main concern is why the journalist was arrested?
Born on 14 August 1975 in Faisalabad, Imran Riaz Khan completed his graduation degree in Journalism and started his career as an anchor in 90s.
He started his career as an anchor and journalist on a private news channel. He started his YouTube Channel in 2020 with the name ‘Imran Khan’” and has more than 3.1 million subscribers.
It was Thursday late night when the Attock police arrested the journalist from Attock. Khan was heading to Islamabad when he was arrested in connection with a treason case registered against him in Attock.
Stance of police
Police told the media outlet that a first information report (FIR) had been lodged against Imran Riaz Khan in Attock. The journalist has been implicated in a slew of cases which he says were motivated by his refusal to “stop speaking the truth”.
A number of FIRs were registered against journalist in various cities including Muzzafargarh ad Sargodha. According to the allegations, the anchor’s actions were a serious crime and a breach of the Constitution because they offended Pakistani citizens’ feelings.
A day before his arrest, Riaz was critical of the Shehbaz Sharif led government and uploaded a video to YouTube, in which The Dawn news outlet describes that he had ‘directly addressed Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa and alleged that he was threatened after asking questions from military sources about the country’s current political and economic situation.’ Riaz also indicated that his family is the target of threats.
Following the arrest, PTI leaders, including Chairman Imran Khan, Fawad Chaudhry, Asad Umar, Shahbaz Gill, and others, raised voices in support of the journalist and condemned the act.
Former prime minister Imran Khan strongly protested the ‘arbitrary arrest’ and called on the public as well as the media to ‘unite and stand up against this fascism’.
PTI leader Asad Umar stated PTI party workers will stage protests at press clubs throughout the country for what he said is an “attempt to suppress freedom of expression.
The Islamabad High Court disposed off a petition filed by senior journalist Imran Riaz Khan against his detention, ruling that the case did not fall under its jurisdiction.
Following his arrest, Khan’s legal team moved IHC to initiate contempt proceedings against police. In late-night action, IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah issued notices to Islamabad police chief and chief commissioner.
During today’s hearing, Imran Riaz Khan’s lawyer contended that his client was arrested from the Islamabad Toll Plaza. The chief justice remarked that the case did not fall under the jurisdiction of IHC as the arrest was made in Attock and advised the lawyer to approach the Lahore High Court.
How safe is Pakistan for journalists?
Journalists and activists make such statements on similar ideological grounds concerning free speech. According to David Griffiths, Amnesty International’s (AI) deputy Asia Pacific director, Pakistan is one of the most dangerous places in the world for journalists.
In a report released last year, AI documented 34 cases of journalists being killed in the period from the restoration of democratic rule in Pakistan in 2008 to April 2014.