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Journalist Asma Shirazi Says Unknown People Broke Into Her House To Harass Her

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Journalist Asma Shirazi has told National Assembly Standing Committee on Human Rights that her house was broken into twice by unknown persons to harass her due to her reporting that doesn’t toe the official line.

During a meeting of the NA body on rights, the women journalists, who had gone public with their reservations against the government over online harassment and hate speech, briefed the committee on the issue via video link.

Shirazi, one of the signatories of the statement, claimed the women journalists were being harassed for their ‘difference of opinion’.

“Twice, people have broken into my house to harass me. I don’t know if the PTI’s media cell or anyone else is involved in this harassment,” Shirazi alleged. “If we tweet, the comments that come below it are indescribable,” she added.

Another journalist Reema Omer told the committee that her pictures were edited to malign her. “There have been instances where pictures with my husband were doctored to add images of [Indian spy] Kulbhushan Jadhav,” Omer claimed.

Anchorperson Gharidah Farooqi alleged that numerous groups — including the ruling party — ‘keep unofficial accounts for harassment’. “A campaign was launched against me, making it difficult for me to step out of the house,” Farooqi claimed.

Minister Seeks Proof For Action Against Trolls

However, Federal Human Rights Minister Shireen Mazari assured the women journalists that action would be taken against culprits if they could provide proof that the trolls were affiliated with the ruling PTI. According to Mazari, she had spoken to the PTI’s official social media team, and ‘they told me they do not engage in harassment’.

Mazari said she too was a victim of such acts. “My daughter and I are also going through the ordeal of harassment,” she said, adding she condemned all such actions.

Speaking further on the harassment of journalists, especially women, the federal minister said all political parties must take steps in this regard and that the PTI was ready to do so. “The leaders [of political parties] need to warn their political workers not to harass anyone,” Mazari stated.

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