Rangers 'search' NYT correspondent's house in Islamabad

Chaudhry Nisar orders an inquiry, says such operations and raids are not acceptable

Afp/news Desk January 12, 2016

The New York Times' Pakistan correspondent's house was searched by Rangers on Tuesday as part of a 'terrorist' search operation.

“Rangers have shown up at my house, saying they want to search the premises but have no documents or warrants,” Salman Masood said on Twitter.

“A man in civvies, with them, says he is from ‘intelligence’ but not giving more identification. Insists on property search,” he added in another post.

High-profile expulsion: Declan Walsh declared persona non grata

A senior police official in the capital informed the journalist that a "terrorist search operation was underway".

Pictures posted by Masood of the search operation showed Rangers searching Masood's house for evidence as part of a “routine search operation.”

"They searched the drawers of my study table and asked if I had any illegal weapons hidden in the house," he said.

Chaudhry Nisar orders inquiry

Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan taking notice of the 'search operation' conducted by Rangers at Masood's residence, ordered an inquiry.

“How, why and on whose orders was the raid conducted at Salman Masood’s house,” read a statement issued from his ministry, adding that an explanation has been sought from police and relevant security agencies.

“Such operations and raids are not acceptable at any cost,” said Nisar.

In June 2013, Declan Walsh, The New York Times Pakistan bureau chief, was officially placed in category A of the Black List (BL), with the government declaring him persona non grata, documents revealed.

According to the letter issued by Shahid Riaz, assistant director (BL Cell) at the directorate general for immigration and passports, Walsh had been blacklisted on the recommendation of the interior ministry and will no longer be able to avail visa facilities without the prior approval of the immigration and passports authority.

Police raids and anti-militant operations are common in Islamabad, with the capital criss-crossed by Rangers and other security force units.

But it is unclear if the search of Masood's home was a routine operation, as stated by police, or if it was an attempt to intimidate the journalist -- which Human Rights Watch lawyer Saroop Ijaz said was a "distinct possibility".

Either way, Ijaz told AFP, it was not acceptable to deprive someone of the fundamental right to privacy.

Ijaz also recalled "the long history of Pakistani security forces using strong arm tactics against the press, and their history with New York Times".

The press in general comes under regular attack in Pakistan, where more than 70 journalists have been killed in the line of duty since 2001, according to the UN. It ranked the country among the worst for unresolved cases of violence against the media.


NHA | 7 years ago | Reply One is not sure about the identity of commentators on this page. But one thing must accepted that all countries have the right and Govts. have duty to protect national interest. The institutions who deal with security matters differ from country to country. In Pakistan, it is 'civil armed' institutions which include 'Rangers, who are effectively employed for such functions. Pakistan is in a state of war and alert to possible injurious situations. Now for the sanctity of Journalism, it is only valid when journalists/media personnel are not camouflaged as spies or saboteurs. I am not suggesting anything, but we have to be alert and vigilant.
Arif Shaffi | 7 years ago | Reply Yet in the Most Democratic Country in the World (as they like to claim so) A police man can shoot anyone dead without any reason. They can push you off airplanes because they don't like your faces. They can form terrorist outfits because they want their oil and kill millions while doing so. And we the Pakistanis can't even search their homes?
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