Outrage in Pakistan after journalist critical of military shot


A Pakistani journalist famous for his blunt criticism of the country’s powerful military has been shot and wounded, triggering calls for investigations and condemnation.

A gunman shot Absar Alam in the ribs on Tuesday night outside his home in the capital Islamabad, his family and friends said.

The attack comes days after Alam’s tweet highlighting how the country’s current spy chief General Faiz Hameed backed violent protests by a radical, pro-blasphemy group in 2017.

Alam, who at the time served as head of country’s electronic media regulator, said General Hameed tried to intimidate him when he blocked a television channel for glorifying the violent protests by Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan (TLP).

The TLP is the same group that was behind the deadly protests last week seeking the expulsion of the French ambassador for last year’s depiction of Muslim prophet Muhammad in France.

General Hameed was an officer in the Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI) during the alleged 2017 incident and has since become the agency’s chief.

Alam was being treated in hospital and is said to be in a stable condition.

Police said the murder attempt was being investigated.

It was not clear if there was a link between the shooting and Alam’s tweets but journalists have been targeted in the past for criticizing the military.

International and local rights bodies, journalist unions and activists denounced the attack and urged the government to end impunity in crimes against media.

Pakistan authorities must conduct a swift and thorough investigation into the shooting, the Committee to Protect Journalists said in an overnight statement.

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