The Pakistan military spy agency kidnaps, threatens and even kills journalists who cross it.
The allegations from Amnesty International come amid an unprecedented public standoff between the Directorate of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and Pakistan’s biggest media group over an attempt by unknown gunmen to kill popular journalist Hamid Mir.
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According to the Guardian, in a detailed report, the human rights group said it has ‘credible concerns’ that journalists face extraordinary challenges in Pakistan, including deadly threats from banned militant groups and the armed wings of political parties.
Amnesty added that it found that ‘no state actor is more feared by journalists than the ISI’.
Dozens of journalists complained to the rights group of experiencing ‘harassment, intimidation or attacks’ by the spy agency. Amnesty said journalists are particularly at risk when exposing security lapses by the military, or the army’s alleged links to banned military groups such as the Taliban, the report added.
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Despite the wave of violence and attacks, the Pakistani authorities have largely failed to hold perpetrators to account. In the overwhelming number of cases researched by the Amnesty, authorities rarely adequately investigated threats or attacks or brought those responsible to justice.
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