Exiled journalists in Pakistan face ongoing problems with local police

A number of journalists who left the country for Pakistan in recent months said they’re faced with economic and security problems, including mistreatment and arrest by the Pakistani police.

The journalists said they are not provided the opportunity to renew their visas and are “beaten up” by Pakistani police and made to “pay bribes.”

The journalists who are hoping to settle in a third country said the United Nations and journalists’ rights organizations have been “indifferent” towards their situation.

Tahir Sadid, a journalist from Afghanistan, said he was arrested by the Pakistani police “for unknown reasons” on Friday evening, June 23.

Sadid claimed he was asked by the Pakistani police to pay money for his release.

“I was in custody for four hours. They pushed me to sit on the ground. Their treatment with us is so unfair,” he added.

Shiba Popalzay, a former journalist from Khorshid TV in Kabul, said that at least 200 journalists are living in Pakistan and are facing challenging situations.

“Life in Pakistan for us as journalists is like a prison as we cannot even roam in the city freely. Unemployment and high prices of food are other issues we are coping with,” she said.

Some of the journalists said that they have been in Pakistan for almost two years and are waiting for their migration cases to be processed. Others said their migration cases are in the final stages.

Hundreds of thousands of Afghanistan nationals left the country for Pakistan after the fall of the previous government in August 2021.