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Detained Pakistani Journalist Wazir Released


Pakistani journalist Gohar Wazir

Pakistani journalist Gohar Wazir has been released from custody and returned home on May 31.

Wazir told RFE/RL's Radio Mashaal that he was detained by security personnel in plainclothes on May 27 in the town of Bannu after reporting on a protest by a group campaigning against perceived brutality by security forces against ethnic Pashtuns.

He was held overnight at a Counterterrorism Police station with about two dozen other people. He was then transferred to a prison in Haripur District. He said he was not abused but that he felt intimidated during his ordeal.

On May 28, the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) called for Wazir's immediate release, saying "Gohar Wazir should not have to face arrest merely for doing the job of reporting the news, even reporting on controversial events such as protests by the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement."

CPJ Asia Program Coordinator Steven Butler said "restrictions on Pakistan's media only serve to undermine the strength of Pakistan's democracy."

Wazir is a journalist for the private Khyber News television station.

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    RFE/RL's Radio Mashaal

    Radio Mashaal was launched in January 2010 in order to counter a growing number of Islamic extremist radio stations in Pakistan's Northwest Frontier Province (now Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Province) and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas along the border with Afghanistan.

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