Arbitrary Arrest of Imran Riaz Khan – Pakistan Under Fascism

Imran Riaz Khan, a senior journalist, and an anchor was detained by the Punjab Police at the Islamabad toll plaza, which runs counter to the statements made by the executives that they strongly oppose press repression and intimidation and are dedicated to the freedom of speech and the press. According to media sources, 15 SHOs were sent to take him into custody. This arrest was made in defiance of Chief Justice IHC Ather Minallah’s instructions that these journalists cannot be taken into custody to silence their views. This is an explicit projection of the respect we, as a nation, have for the courts of the state.

A few days ago, ‘they’ strongly denounced ‘the assault on journalist/analyst Ayaz Amir and said things that, when implied, indicate that such acts constitute the death of democracy. This was yet another occasion that overtly revealed the executives’ misleading statements and their total lack of credibility. The issue is not the falsity or lies of the words; rather, it is the health of constitutionalism and democracy, which are extolled in speeches and in parliament to support hollow actions when in fact they have no consequences. The high-level remarks about bringing individuals before the high-level inquiry in response to such reprehensible arbitrary detentions with zero synergies between words and deeds further open the door to legitimate reservations about modifying the medications for defending and protecting the democracy of a country earned after meager sacrifices.

Such instances of unfair practices against people who are carrying out their duties to provide the real image of what is being done are highly unacceptable in the democratic margins. Additionally supporting this is Article 19 of the Constitution, which says:

 ‘Article 19 of the Constitution talks about the freedom of speech, freedom of expression, and freedom of the press. Every citizen of Pakistan has the right to hold opinions, the right to express them, and the right to speech. The law can abrogate this right only in the interest of the glory of Islam and the integrity, security, and defense of Pakistan, to maintain public order, decency, and morality, or in relation to contempt of court and/or incitement to an offence.’

In addition to the aforementioned concerns, the public has a similar right to know the policies of the elected government. Information about the executive’s actions is especially important when the general public is only marginally in favor of the executive’s governance, as evidenced by PTI jalsas and the number of ordinary citizens calling for fresh elections. As per article 19-A, the “right to information (RTI) is the fundamental right of citizens, enabling them to obtain information from government and private organizations…” Each plan has a right to be known, therefore reporting by media becomes important. Why then do they fear ignoring the voices of concern? A question posed by every tongue, and one to which everyone is aware!

In conclusion, it is fair to state that Pakistan is under the dark shadows of fascism, violence, injustice, bigotry, corruption, and disregard for constitutional safeguards. The time has come to reflect upon the decisions made and decisions taken while being influenced by personal inclinations for certain individuals and ancestors’ political views. It is now necessary to put halt to the extremes of monarchial and dynastic politics and to begin implementing the true components of democracy to serve constitutionalism in accordance with the codified margins of the state.


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