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Editor's arrest in Indian-occupied Kashmir breeds fear among journalists

10:00 PM | 8 Feb, 2022
Editor's arrest in Indian-occupied Kashmir breeds fear among journalists

NEW DELHI – Fear and tension have gripped journalists in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) after the arrest of a prominent editor last week.

Amid a widening crackdown on the press in the Indian-occupied region, Fahad Shah, a prominent journalist and editor-in-chief of the local news portal Kashmir Walla, was arrested on Friday after being summoned for questioning in the southern district of Pulwama over coverage of a police raid in late January that left four people dead. 

Although the portal reported both the police and civilian version of the story, police said that Shah was arrested for uploading “anti-national content” and had “criminal intention” to create fear among the public. Authorities also said the content amounted to “glorifying terrorist activities”.

Shah’s arrest came a month after Sajad Gul, a Kashmir Walla contributor, was arrested over social media posts.

India has deployed tens of thousands of police and soldiers to suppress the voice of the people of Kashmir, a Muslim-majority region, after revoking its constitutional autonomy in 2019.

Journalists have since been caught in the crossfire between the Indian government and the groups fighting for Indian-occupied Kashmir’s independence. 

“Journalists in the valley are in fear,” says Srinagar-based Altaf Hussain, a former BBC journalist. “This fear in journalists has always been there in the valley ever since armed conflict broke out in Kashmir in the 1990s, but now the [Indian] government has become more brazen.”

The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party of Prime Minister Narendra Modi said arrests such as Shah’s should be expected by reporters who produced “anti-national” content. 

“Gone are the old days,” Srinagar-based BJP spokesperson Manzoor Bhat said. “Today you have to follow a line and there is a price to be paid for doing anti-national reporting.”

Sanjay Kapoor, a Delhi-based journalist and secretary of the Editors Guild of India, said the government was using national security as a pretext to crack down on press freedom. 

“Many journalists are finding themselves on the wrong side of the law for doing their job of asking questions from the authorities or critiquing the work of the government,” Kapoor said. “It’s seen as an anti-national act that undermines the security of the country.”

“They don’t want the journalists to bring out uncomfortable truths or criticism of what is happening to the people,” said Anuradha Bhasin, executive editor of Kashmir Times. “To do journalism is becoming more and more difficult.”

Daily Pakistan Global Web Desk

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Currency Rates in Pakistan Today - PKR to US Dollar, Euro, Pound, Dirham, and Riyal 12 April

Pakistani currency remains unchanged against US dollar and other currencies in open market on April 12, 2024.

US Dollar rate in Pakistan

On Friday, the US dollar was being quoted at 277.4 for buying and 280.65 for selling.

Euro was quoted at 299.95 for buying and 302.9 for selling while British Pound stands at 349.5 for buying, and 353 for selling.

UAE Dirham AED was at 75.45 and Saudi Riyal's new rates was at 73.30. 

Today’s currency exchange rates in Pakistan - 12 April 2024

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