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Pakistan court asks intel agency to stop harassing TV anchor

April 28, 2022 GMT

ISLAMABAD (AP) — A court in Islamabad on Thursday asked Pakistan’s intelligence agency and the police to stop harassing a prominent TV anchor after his lawyer petitioned the court, saying his client’s fundamental rights were being violated by security officials.

The order by Athar Minallah, chief justice at the Islamabad High Court, followed journalist Arshad Sharif’s petition.

Sharif’s lawyer, Faisal Chaudhry, said the judge also summoned police representatives and those from the Federal Investigation Agency to appear before him on Friday to explain their position.

Sharif’s talk show POWERPLAY airs Monday to Thursday on the ARY news channel, which has been critical of Pakistan’s new Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif.

The TV anchor’s family said security officers appeared before dawn on Thursday at their home to arrest Arshad Sharif but left after they were told he was not there. It remained unclear on what charges the officers wanted to arrest Sharif.

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There was no immediate comment from the government.

Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif was elected earlier this month after the ouster of former cricket star turned premier Imran Khan through a no-confidence vote in the lower house of parliament.

Pakistan has long been an unsafe country for journalists. In 2020, it ranked ninth on the Committee to Protect Journalists’ annual Global Impunity Index, which assesses countries where journalists are regularly killed and the assailants go free.