After General Pervez Musharraf, Imran Khan was one of the notorious human rights abusers, who tried to suppress the media house, human rights groups, and social media activists with the help of Pakistan, Just Earth News reported.
According to the publication, the killing of dissidents, the browbeating of journalists, and an assault on the freedom of speech became normal during his regime. The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan in its ‘Status of Human Rights Report 2021,’ released early this year, had stated that the rights to freedom of expression suffered the most in that year.
“A summary of these curbs reads more like a dictatorial regime bent on usurping its people’s right to speak and act as they please,” the report reads. The report categorically labelled the previous Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government as “one of the most repressive in terms of its intimidation of journalists”.
Highlighting at least nine cases of intimidation of journalists, the report cautioned, “If a government cannot protect freedom of expression – rather tries to curb it – it has a direct bearing on all other rights.”According to the report, the Imran Khan government, in collaboration with the army had carried out a brutal crackdown on journalists, whenever someone writes against them.
According to the publication, the true face of Imran Khan and his collaborators in khaki remains lost in the din and bustle of petty politicking and mudslinging which made Pakistan a laughing stock of the world.
As the report highlighted “numerous incidents of enforced disappearances and persistent police excesses that targeted dissenting voices. Dissenters remained anathema to the government as it intensified its attacks on those who challenged it in any way.
The same happened to marginalized segments of society that remained on the receiving end.
Not only the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan but also the US State Department, in its 2021 report, stated that Islamabad witnessed a long list of human rights abuses like unlawful or arbitrary killings, including extrajudicial killings by the government or its agents; forced disappearance by the government or its agents; torture and cases of cruel, its agents besides serious restrictions on free expression and media, including violence against journalists, unjustified arrests and disappearances of journalists.
The Human Rights Watch report 2021 stated that there was “a climate of fear” created by both government security forces and militant groups.
According to the publication, journalists opted to stop writing against Imran Khan’s government and the military. Journalists who dared to step out of line were abducted, beaten, locked up in secret prisons or prevented from working.