22 June, 2021

The Pen Is Mightier...

Pakistan's press is certainly freer than before though it labours under the shadow of the government.

The Pen Is Mightier...
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

NAWAZ Sharif has never liked the press. He once said  newspapers only cause trouble. When he was prime minister the last time (1990-93), he had a short fuse and gave the press a hard time. Numerous cases of vandalism by ruling party thugs against newspapers and journalists were reported across the country. Takbeer magazine's offices in Karachi were burnt down. A sedition case was lodged against the editor of The News in Islamabad for publishing a poem in the letters column which Sharif didn't like. And so on.

I had a particularly nasty experience in 1992-93 because, apart from the investigative stories of corruption in government, Sharif didn't warm to a weekly satirical column about him in my paper. Armed thugs were sent to rough me up but I escaped their clutches. I was advised my safety couldn't be guaranteed  if some ruling party loyalists decided to bomb my office. Income tax notices flew thick and fast. Anonymous phone-callers abused my wife and threatened rape and kidnapping. My paper survived only because Sharif was booted out of power a couple of months later.

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