ISLAMABAD: Former prime minister and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan has warned that the government is about to launch “an unprecedented crackdown campaign” against media houses and journalists supporting him.
In a series of tweets on Sunday — a day after he addressed a public rally in Lahore — Imran Khan expressed fears that if the government succeeded in suppressing journalists who have supported his narrative the country may “be returning to the dark days of dictatorship when there was no independent media & no room for freedom of expression.”
Imran Khan named about five anchors and columnist Ayaz Amir who, he said, suffered “threats, violent attacks and arrests” for supporting him.
“In my mass public campaign across Pak from next week, I will take up issue of media freedom & freedom of expression,” he said.
“If we allow these terror tactics, designed simply to target PTI & myself, to succeed, then we will be returning to the dark days of dictatorship when there was no independent media & no room for freedom of expression,” Imran Khan said.“Haqeeqi Azadi cannot be achieved without a free media & freedom of speech as guaranteed in our Constitution,” said the former prime minister, whose government saw Pakistan sink on the press freedom index in the three and a half years he was in power.
In the final year of the Imran Khan government, Pakistan fell 12 points on the World Press Freedom index and was ranked below even Afghanistan, which is ruled by Taliban hardliners. — NNI