There is a local saying that goes like this, “neither friendship nor animosity of a security personnel is good.” With actions of law enforcement personnel, which are full of surprises, one becomes a firm believer in the validity of the proverb stated above. One wonders if cooperation with authorities is good or non-cooperating attitude towards security personnel is the right choice to make in the first place.

A recent example in this context is the arrest of a journalist, Khalil Jibran, who along with his colleagues went missing after they informed the law enforcement authorities regarding an explosive device placed in their vehicles. To the surprise of many, instead of arresting the responsible ones the complainants were taken into the custody. Reports are that the journalist was tortured as well.

Such an arbitrary act on the part of law enforcement authorities is not only condemnable but also shameful. Such actions are the reasons that a chasm of mistrust prevails between the civilians and them. Those protesting against the journalist’s confinement argue that it is an attempt to stop them from performing their duty of exposing corruption and illegal practices of the higher-ups.

The law enforcement authorities need to come up with a case against him, if there is any and present him before the court of a magistrate. If they fail to prove his involvement in any activity, the responsible ones for his illegal confinements should be brought to justice. The action of FC authorities is a violation of fundamental rights enshrined in the Constitution of Pakistan including Articles 10, 14, and 19.

While in any civilised society, media and journalists play an important role in ensuring accountability and pointing out any irregularity and wrongs that need correction, in Pakistan, they face the wrath of the state when they perform any such task. If one wonders why Pakistan ranks 139 out of 180 countries according to the 2017 World Press Freedom Index, then the answer is such actions of state authorities.