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Asia and the Pacific
Western Asia

Pakistan - June 2023

Crackdown on critical voices persists

Coverage of former prime minister Imran Khan has been banned on all news channels following the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority’s (PEMRA) directive to "blackout" hate speech and persons involved in the 9 May riots, which had been directed toward the country’s military establishment and triggered by Khan’s arrest on corruption charges. Political analysts note that the ban is part of a wider trend of instituting politically motivated bans to crack down on voices critical of the state and military. Moreover, the National Assembly of Pakistan passed a resolution on 12 June demanding speedy action against 9 May rioters under the Army Act. According to a military spokesperson, at least 102 people are being tried through military courts due to their involvement in the protests under the purview of anti-terrorism legislation. Human rights groups have condemned the use of such courts to try and prosecute civilians.

Sources: Reuters (1)Foreign PolicyDawnNPRReuters (2)The Express Tribune

Primary categories and factors
Rights -1 Rights  (-1)
Civil Liberties
Freedom of Expression
Rule of Law -1 Rule of Law  (-1)
Predictable Enforcement

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