That the news media is being suppressed wouldn’t spring any surprises. That is how things have been in this neck of the woods. That some senior journalists are now deeming it to be worse than martial law era censorship is another matter.
Most newsrooms are being dictated to, specially with regards to a burgeoning social movement of the Pashtuns (but one that has support throughout the ethnicities) and some news outlets in particular are being asked to tweak their coverage to be more favourable to a certain political party.
Journalists being in physical danger has been the norm since some time but the abduction, however brief, of the outspoken Gul Bukhari is a new low, a shameful nadir.
Rounding up journalists is never, ever acceptable – and the henchmen of the agencies concerned should know that following-orders is an inadmissible line of defence in the court of law – but till now, at least female journalists had been spared of this hooliganism.
True, Ms Bukhari had more social capital than the ill-fated Zeenat Shahzadi, who was incarcerated for two years. Ms Shahzadi had been covering the case of an Indian national who had gone missing in Pakistan.
The self-styled defenders of our “ideological frontiers” need to realise that our Republic is all the stronger because of people like Gul Bukhari, not weaker.