Pakistani exiles living in London who have been criticising the country’s powerful military have been warned that their lives are in danger.
Pakistani exiles living in London who have been criticising the country’s powerful military have been warned that their lives are in danger. Pakistani dissidents, including rights activists, journalists and members of the minority groups, have been warned by intelligence agencies across Europe, news agency ANI cited The Observer report. The report comes a month after local media had reported that a man from east London was charged with conspiring to murder an exiled Pakistani blogger and political activist in the Netherlands.
Pakistani exiles living in London feel threatened
British security sources have raised concern that Pakistan might be prepared to target individuals residing in the United Kingdom, ANI cited The Observer report. Mark Lyall Grant, former UK high commissioner to Pakistan has asserted that if figures from the Pakistani military had threatened exiles in the UK then this would be taken very seriously by the UK government. Lyall Grant, who is UK’s former national security adviser stated that “If there is illegal pressure, in particular on journalists in the UK, then I would expect the law enforcement agencies and the British government to take notice of that and to make an appropriate legal and/or diplomatic response.”
Furthermore, Grant noted that if any evidence shows that the officers from Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) were intimidating people living in the UK would not be ignored. Grant further added that if the British nationals or residents in the UK who are acting lawfully are being “harassed or threatened by the ISI, or anyone else, then the British government would certainly take an interest”. Since Imran Khan came to power in Pakistan, civil rights groups there have documented the erosion of press freedom with rising violent attacks on journalists, ANI cited The Observer report.
Pakistan now seems to be moving from suppressing criticism within its borders to targeting its critics based in foreign countries. The prominent journalists who have received death threats or feel threatened living in the UK include Ayesha Siddiqa who is a Pakistani political scientist and commentator based in London and Gul Bukhari, a British-Pakistani YouTuber and columnist, ANI cited The Observer report. Last year, a leaked Pakistani government memo accused a number of Pakistani journalists based in Europe and the US of producing “anti-state content” for foreign media under pseudonyms.
(With Inputs from ANI)