By Syed Bilal Izzat Naqvi…
ISLAMABAD- In a recent TV show appearance, Saqib Bashir, a senior and respected journalist, spoke out against the arrest of Siddique Jan, a fellow journalist. Bashir, who himself has been a victim of police harassment in Islamabad, emphasized that journalists have a responsibility to report on events and cover them as they happen. However, being present at a particular event does not make a journalist complicit in any way.
Bashir stated, “Journalists are not participants in the events they cover, they are mere observers. Siddique Jan’s arrest is a clear violation of press freedom, and it sets a dangerous precedent for journalists in Pakistan. The government must ensure the safety and protection of journalists, so they can perform their duties without fear of harassment or arrest.”
Siddique Jan, a well-known journalist, host of a popular YouTube channel and Bureau Chief BOL News Islamabad, was arrested by Islamabad police on 19th March, allegedly for making derogatory remarks against government officials. The arrest has sparked outrage among journalists and press freedom advocates in Pakistan and beyond.
Bashir, who has been a vocal advocate for press freedom, called on the authorities to release Siddique Jan immediately and drop all charges against him. He also urged the government to respect the role of journalists in a democratic society and ensure their safety and protection.
As a former President of the Islamabad High Court Journalists Association, Bashir has been a strong voice for the rights of journalists in Pakistan. He has also been a mentor to many young journalists and has played a crucial role in shaping the media landscape in the country.
The arrest of Siddique Jan is a concerning development for press freedom in Pakistan, and it highlights the need for the government to uphold the fundamental right to freedom of expression. Bashir’s condemnation of the arrest is a reminder that journalists must be allowed to report without fear of reprisal or harassment.