The recent arrest of ARY News head Ammad Yousaf has caused a storm in Pakistan’s journalist community as it demands his release. Journalists are condemning the arrest while criticizing the government for what is being termed a “fascist” move.
ARY’s Senior Executive Vice President Ammad Yousaf was arrested in the wee hours of Wednesday. According to the details by ARY, Ammad Yousaf was picked up without a warrant from his residence located in Karachi’s DHA.
Police officers along with plain-clothed persons forcibly entered the house of Ammad Yousaf. The raiding team diverted the CCTV cameras of Yousaf’s house and jumped into the house from the top of the main entrance.
The raiding team also took away the licensed weapons and the DVR of the CCTV cameras installed in the house. Interestingly, the arrest came a day after ARY was served with a show-cause notice over PTI leader Shahbaz Gill’s controversial remarks about Pakistan’s armed forces were aired.
Journalists condemn arrest of Ammad Yousaf
Journalists across Pakistan have spoken out against the arrest. Journalists’ bodies and press clubs across the country condemned the arrest of ARY News Head of News Ammad Yousaf and termed it an act of victimization.
“Strongly condemn disappearance of ARY News head Ammad Yousuf following the ban on the channel’s transmission. Reports about some other ARY anchors are disturbing. All these actions are unlawful. Sadly, only the rulers changed in this country, not the rule,” Mazhar Abbas, a senior journalist from GEO tweeted.
Strongly condemn disappearance of @ARYNEWSOfficial head of news Amaad Yusuf following ban on the channel's transmission. Reports about some other ary anchors disturbing. All these actions are unlawful. Sadly, only the rulers changed in this country not the rule.
— Mazhar Abbas (@MazharAbbasGEO) August 10, 2022
“Extremely concerning. Early morning raids to pick up management and journalists of ARY News. CEO picked up, anchors missing,” Mubashir Zaidi from Dawn tweeted.
— Mubashir Zaidi (@Xadeejournalist) August 10, 2022
“The midnight raid to arrest Ammad Yousaf, head of ARY News is the worst form of state fascism, violation of fundamental human rights and trampling press freedom under PML-N and PPP regime,” Arshad Sharif, senior journalist and anchorperson from ARY tweeted.
“Amnesty Asia, CPJ Asia, and UN Human Rights must take notice. Release Ammad Yousaf,” he further added.
The midnight raid to arrest @AmmadYousaf , head of news of @ARYNEWSOFFICIAL is worst form of state fascism, violation of fundamental human rights & trampling press freedoms under #PMLN #PPP regime. @amnestysasia @CPJAsia @UNHumanRights must take notice, #ReleaseAmmadYousaf pic.twitter.com/jtMS8VvJD2
— Arshad Sharif (@arsched) August 10, 2022
Similarly, the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) in its statement said that the government should come to its senses, PFUJ leader Lala Asad Pathan said that the government’s action is very shameful, and Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif should take immediate action on the matter.
پی ایف یو جے کے صدر افضل بٹ و سیکرٹری جنرل ارشد انصاری کی جانب سے اے آر وائی کے ڈائریکٹر نیوز عماد یوسف کے گھر پر بغیر وارنٹ چھاپہ، چادراورچار دیواری کا تقدس پامال کرنے کی شدید مذمت،چھ گھنٹے گزرنے کے باوجود عماد یوسف کے متعلق کوئی اطلاع نہ ہونے سے صحافیوں کی تشویش بڑھ رہی ہے۔
— PFUJ Official (@OfficialPfuj) August 10, 2022
PFUJ Dastoor Secretary General AH Khanzada said that if Ammad Yousaf is not released immediately, journalists will call for a nationwide protest.
Interestingly, the arrest of Ammad Yousaf has also caught the attention of foreign journalists as well. Suhasini Haidar, National Editor, and Diplomatic Affairs Editor of The Hindu, also tweeted on the matter.
“Pakistan government shuts down the channel, arrests management and journalists,” Suhasini Haidar tweeted.
Pakistan govt shuts down channel, arrests management and journalists. https://t.co/E2HN5e6aZX
— Suhasini Haidar (@suhasinih) August 10, 2022