National and local dailies are under a constant threat from extremist organisations in Balochistan. The threat is mainly located in the capital city of Quetta but stems out to other cities and towns of Baluchistan too. Extremist outfits are against the publishing of their activities in the newspapers and hence want the dailies to stop writing about them. If they continue to do so, they will forcefully shut down their publication. Hence, newspaper publishers are under a constant threat of attack.

Since the last three days, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, publications have stayed away from printing newspapers. Some publications did print out newspapers but the number was very low. Newspaper hawkers and agents also refused to distribute papers because of the threat. And same was the case with the transportation services.

Deputy Inspector General of Quetta did encourage the dailies to print their papers and promised them that they would be distributed under strict scrutiny and security. Despite his promise, the fears of the publishers did come true. On Thursday, suspected militants managed to get through to the Press Club in Hub and hurled a hand grenade late at night. It resulted in an explosion, which affected the window panes of the club. Nearby buildings were also smashed in the process. However, the police reported no loss of life as a result.

Such an incident taking place despite promises of security is a matter of shame for the concerned authorities, as this attack was expected. This only point towards the lack of vigilance in the matter. And it will further increase the tension and security threat that the publications are facing.

This scenario should be given immediate attention. Both federal and provincial government should be involved in the matter. Quetta, and more specifically Balochistan, has witnessed a large number of atrocities. Taking this situation lightly is something which cannot be accepted, especially when the authorities were aware of the threat beforehand.

We have given the press of this country the title of one of the pillars which make up the country. At this point, that pillar is under threat. The extremist organisations are curbing the freedom allotted to the media outlets by the constitution of Pakistan. We as a nation adhere to the principle of free press. And as abiding citizens of the constitution, it is our duty to protect this right which has been granted to media. It is about time, we tighten our grip around these extremists.