Banned Pakistani Journalists Appear on Air

On November 3, 2007, Pervez Musharraf imposed emergency rule and deposed the chief justice of the Supreme Court, Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry. He also effectively deposed a set of independent television journalists, two of whom are Nusrat Javed and Mushtaq Minhas. The pair hosted a debate and call-in show, Bolta Pakistan (Pakistan Speaks), that clearly was disliked by Musharraf & Co.

Javed had not appeared on television till last week, when he was a guest on Aaj Television’s [not] Live with Talat [Hussain]. The satellite transmission of AAJ TV was suspended for a few hours upon Javed appearing.

Today, Live with Talat is broadcasting live again with none other than Nusrat Javed and Mushtaq Minhas as guests. The program’s audio faded several times during the show’s first half, including once when Javed was speaking. My suspicions were confirmed when, in the show’s second half, Talat made an articulate appeal to Pakistan’s cable operators to stop interfering with the voice of Javed, who noted that the people of Pakistan, ironically, were given their right to voice themselves in Monday’s elections, but he’s still being gagged.

Pakistan’s private media, particularly Aaj TV, will continue to push back for a restoration of press freedoms as they sense the tide turning against Musharraf.

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Arif Rafiq, a Washington, DC-based consultant on Middle East and South Asian political and security issues. [About]

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