RSF calls to stop harassment of freed Baloch journalist
* Munir Mengal says he fears for his life
By Khalid Hasan
WASHINGTON: Reporters Sans Frontieres [Reporters Without Borders] has called on the Pakistan government to order the intelligence services to stop harassing Baloch journalist Munir Mengal, one of the originators of a proposed Balochi-language satellite TV station Baloch Voice.
Freed in February after being held for two years, first by the military and then by the police, Mengal says he still fears for his life.
“Instead of watching and intimidating this man, who spent two years in detention just for wanting to create a TV station for the Baloch, the authorities should give him financial compensation,” the press freedom organisation said, adding, “This case should prompt the new government to look into the many kidnappings and disappearances of journalists, especially those from Balochistan.”
Mengal told the BBC in an interview, “I still fear for my life. Intelligence agents continue to follow me.” He said he was freed on February 23 after a new government was elected in Balochistan.
As requested by the security forces, he decided to refrain from immediately announcing his release, for fear of being re-arrested. He is now living in the Kalat district of Balochistan. After his arrest at Karachi international airport on April 4, 2006, he was held in the Malir military camp in the town of Sud. He said the military kept asking him why an educated Baloch like himself continued to support the Baloch nationalists. They told him they had arrested him to prevent him from talking to the media. He said he always insisted on his innocence despite being subjected to long sessions of torture. “Wherever I go, I’m afraid for my life,” he told the BBC, adding, “They prevent me from talking and writing.”