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Brutal attack on ARY TV anti-corruption crusader yet again shows Pakistan’s contempt for press freedom

Iqrar Ul Hassan who was stripped naked, blindfolded and tortured for three days by Pakistan secret service agency (Pic. Courtesy Twitter/@RSF_inter)

Stormtroopers of Pakistan’s intelligence bureau have tortured ARY TV host  and anti-corruption crusader Iqrar Ul Hassan, demonstrating once again the Pakistani state’s intolerance to press freedom.

Hassan said that sleuths of the Intelligence Bureau broke into his Karachi office and tortured him and his colleagues.  has claimed that he and other members of his team were detained and tortured at his office in Karachi by members of Pakistan’s Intelligence Bureau. Hassan said that he was tortured when he attempted to expose rampant corruption in their ranks.

Hassan’s plight came to light when his bloodied pictures and videos were posted on Twitter. The journalist who has exposed corruption in Pakistan’s intelligence bureau was seen receiving medical treatment on a hospital bed.

Detailing his ordeal to ARY News,  Hassan said that the intruders tied him and other members of his team and subjected them to extreme forms of physical punishment. He said that he was blindfolded, stripped, and then tortured for his attempts to unveil se corruption in the IB. He said that the IB officials also shot videos of his incarceration.

“We were treated as a mole working for a foreign country”, Hassan was quoted as saying.

Separately, Pakistani daily News International is reporting that Pakistan's Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) arrested journalist Mohsin Baig from his home in Islamabad on Wednesday.

Baig, known for being critical of the government, is the second scribe who has been arrested in the past week.

"Police commandos are standing outside the house of journalist Mohsin Baig in Islamabad. He was arrested this morning, now police want to enter his house for a search. Lady police is also there. Son of Mohsin Baig is injured and police want to arrest him for resisting against FIA," senior Pakistani journalist Hamid Mir tweeted.

Baig's son claimed that FIA officials came to the house and arrested his father.

Pakistan ranks at 145 in the Press Freedom Index of Reporters Without Borders (RSF), a global media watchdog. According to RSF  journalists in Pakistan have become prime targets of the country’s “deep state” – a pointer to the all-powerful military and the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).

RSF also claims that several journalists were abducted in 2020. The group said that after targeting  the traditional media, the military and intelligence agencies have now tried to muzzle dissenting voices on social media. State sponsored trolls are known to stalk journalists and flood their timelines with spam messages.

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