Pakistan authorities arrested journalist under new electronic crime law

Vastavam web: Pakistan authorities have arrested a journalist under a new electronic crime law aimed at combating terrorism and preventing blasphemy but which critics say is used to suppress political dissent.The journalist, Zafarullah Achakzai a reporter for the Daily Qudrat newspaper, in Quetta city was produced before a magistrate on Wednesday and remanded in police custody under the cyber law, an official from the police’s Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) said.

Achakzai’s father, Naimatullah Achakzai, said his son was detained on Sunday by officers from the Frontier Corps, a paramilitary force in overall charge of security in Baluchistan province, of which Quetta is the capital.”We weren’t allowed to talk to him or meet him,” he said, adding he believed is son was arrested over social media posts.The son posted a comment on Facebook after a suicide bombing killed 13 in Quetta this month, in which he questioned why the Frontier Corps had responsibility for policing the city.

The FIA official, who declined to be identified, confirmed that the journalist had been arrested by the Frontier Corps, and then handed over to the FIA on Wednesday.The Pakistani media watchdog Freedom Network said it was concerned about what it saw as “the authorities’ zero-tolerance for critics on social media”.