Letter: Pakistan arrest

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The Independent Culture
Pakistan arrest

Sir: We write to draw further attention to the recent imprisonment without charge of Najam Sethi by Pakistan's military intelligence in Lahore ("Pakistan must learn the value of a free press", 17 May, letter, 20 May).

Mr Sethi is a Pakistani journalist, publisher and bookseller. His arrest (said to be in response to his recent outspoken remarks on corruption within Pakistan's government) is an affront to the most basic principle of freedom of speech which Pakistan's government claims to accept.

Commentators in Pakistan believe that an example is being made of Mr Sethi in an attempt to gag other dissenting journalists and publishers. In fact we learn that Hussain Haqqani, a columnist, and Rehmat Shah Afridi, a newspaper editor and publisher, have been arrested in similar circumstances.

Perhaps the Foreign Secretary could be prevailed upon to press for the immediate release of Sethi, Haqqani and Afridi before any other journalists or publishers in Pakistan receive unexpected visits in the middle of the night from members of the security forces.

IRADJ BAGHERZADE

Chairman and Publisher, I B Tauris & Co Ltd

RICHARD CHARKIN

Chief Executive, Macmillan Publishers Ltd

SIMON MASTER

Chairman, Random House UK Ltd

HENRY REECE

Chief Executive, Oxford University Press

London WC1

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