Pakistani journalist critical of government seized outside home

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Pakistani journalists chant slogans during demonstration to condemn the arrest of their colleague Rizwan-ur-Rehman Razi, in Lahore, Pakistan, Saturday, Feb. 9, 2019. (AP)
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Osama Rizi, son of a journalist Rizwan-ur-Rehman Razi, displays a calendar with the pictures of his father outside his residence in Lahore, Pakistan, Saturday, Feb. 9, 2019. (AP)
Updated 09 February 2019
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Pakistani journalist critical of government seized outside home

  • Pakistani journalists say they face an increasingly hostile climate since the vote last year that saw Prime Minister Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) take power
  • Government officials say Pakistan has an independent media and the military denies pressuring journalists

LAHORE: A Pakistani journalist under scrutiny for anti-government social media posts was beaten and seized outside his home on Saturday, his son said, in the latest sign of pressure on media.
Rizwan Razi, who worked for private Din TV in the city of Lahore, was being investigated for “defamatory and obnoxious” comments about the judiciary, government and intelligence services, according to Pakistan’s law enforcement agency.
However, there was no official confirmation he had been arrested.
“My father went out of home to see off friends,” his son Osama told Reuters of the incident on Saturday morning.
“When the friends left, unknown persons, riding a black Honda Civic car, thrashed and dragged him in the car and fled away ... I ran after the car but could not do anything.”
Pakistani journalists say they face an increasingly hostile climate since the vote last year that saw Prime Minister Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) take power.
A report from the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), dated Saturday and seen by Reuters, said Razi had previously been questioned about his Twitter comments. It said authorization had been granted to register a case against him.
His account @RaziDada appeared to be offline on Saturday.
FIA officials in Lahore referred questions to the main office in Islamabad, where officials could not be reached.
Khan’s government replaced the party of ousted former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who was at odds with the powerful military and is currently serving a seven-year prison sentence for corruption.
The increased official pressure has come at a difficult time for the media in general as advertising revenues have plunged and newsroom budgets been slashed.
Government officials say Pakistan has an independent media and the military denies pressuring journalists.
In a separate case, Ammar Ali Jan, an academic also based in Lahore, was arrested over his involvement in a protest at the death of Arman Loni, a regional leader of the Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement. He was later released on bail.
A message on Ammar’s Facebook page on Saturday said he was taken at 4 a.m. “I am a law-abiding citizen and will not be deterred in the fight for justice,” it said.
Police official Azhar Naveed confirmed the brief detention and bail, which followed other arrests over the protests earlier this week. He said Ammar was charged with taking part in a rally, blocking a road and making “anti-state” speeches.


REVIEW: Second season of Sacred Games mirrors the ills of today's India

Updated 17 August 2019
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REVIEW: Second season of Sacred Games mirrors the ills of today's India

CHENNAI: The first season of “Sacred Games” last year was a hit, and the second edition, which began streaming on Netflix on Aug. 15, may be even more so.

The eight episodes explore some of India's most pressing current issues such as a nuclear threat, terrorism and inter-religious animosity dating back to the country's 1947 partition. It. It also addresses how religious men can indulge in the most unholy of acts, including helping corrupt politicians.

Some of the greatest films have had conflict and war as their backdrop: “Gone with the Wind,” “Casablanca,” “Ben-Hur” and “Garam Hawa,” to mention a few. The second season of “Sacred Games” also unfolds in such a scenario, with terrorism and inter-communal disharmony having a rippling effect on the nation.

Directed by Anurag Kashyap (“Gangs of Wasseypur,” “Black Friday”) and Neeraj Ghaywan (“Masaan,” which premiered at Cannes in 2015), the web series, based on Vikram Chandra's 2006 novel, unfolds with Ganesh Gaitonde (played by Nawazuddin Siddiqui) escaping from prison and finding himself in Mombasa. He has been carted there by an agent of India's

Research and Analysis Wing, Kusum Devi Yadav (Amruta Subhash), who forces him to help find Shahid Khan (Ranvir Shorey), the mastermind behind bomb blasts and terror attacks.

In Mumbai, police inspector Sartaj (Saif Ali Khan) has just two weeks to save the city from a nuclear attack, which Gaitonde had warned him about. Both men love Mumbai and do not want it to be destroyed. But religious extremist Khanna Guruji (Pankaj Tripathi) and his chief disciple Batya Ableman (Kalki Koechlin) believe that only such a catastrophic destruction can help cleanse society and bring a cleaner, saner new order.

A narrative of deceit, betrayal, love and longing, the second season has a plodding start, but picks up steam from the fourth episode, with Sartaj and his men racing against time to find a nuclear time bomb that could wipe out Mumbai. Crude dialogue and a constant doomsday atmosphere could have been avoided, but riveting performances by the lead pair – Khan and Siddiqui (though he is getting typecast in this kind of role) – and nail-biting thrills make this Netflix original dramatically captivating.