In Pakistan, TrialWatch is monitoring the crackdown on independent journalists, including through the use of the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act, as well as the authorities’ continued reliance on colonial-era laws such as sedition. At the same time, TrialWatch is also monitoring how women who speak out are treated by the courts.
An academic and activist faces serious charges, including sedition, across two cases as a result of participating in peaceful protests where he criticized the authorities, saying for instance that “the uniform [meaning the army] is behind this terrorism.”
A popular singer faces defamation charges for saying she was subjected to “sexual harassment of a physical nature at the hands of a colleague from my industry.” Other women likewise alleged harassment by the same celebrity. While Ms. Shafi’s claim of sexual harassment was dismissed by an Ombudsperson on the ground that it did not involve “an employer-employee relationship,” Pakistan’s Federal Information Agency (FIA) charged her with transmitting false information electronically that ‘harms the reputation or privacy’ of a person.
The chief executive of an independent media group, which has previously faced censorship at the hands of the authorities and which has in the past criticized the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), has been charged—by NAB—with corruption, allegedly in connivance with former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.