Pakistani investigative journalist Umar Cheema, writing for „The News“, experienced in a horrible way the result of critizising a nation´s army that is widely regarded as one if not the pillar of the state he is living in.
Early September Cheema left his home, when unknown men wearing shirts saying „No Fear“ stopped his car, blindfolding the journalist and taking him to a safe house. Cheema ended up being obducted and abused. His captors shave his head as well as the eyebrows, strip him naked and start a session of torture and abuse. Humiliated and beaten, Cheema is told by one of his kidnappers: „“If you can’t avoid rape, enjoy it.”
After six hours physically tortured, the journalist was dumped on a road outside Pakistani capital of Islamabad. What makes Cheema´s case unusual is the fact that the 34 year-old is now speaking out openely about what happened to him, even giving interview to U.S. officials in the Islamabad Embassy.
„I have suspicions and every journalist has suspicions that all fingers point to the ISI“, Umar Cheema says about the terrible six hours he had experienced, accusing Pakistan´s intelligence agency.
Pakistani authorities claim Cheema´s statements and accusations are false and lies. Nevertheless his case is causing international media attentation.
The journalist had been an outspoken critic of the Pakistani Military, writing about alleged abuses and crimes committed by soldiers. It seems like Umar Cheema is not willing to let his story become just another case of oppression of the free media in a state dealing with terrorism and political enemies within and outside the country.
Read the story of the Pakistani journalist´s fight for freedom of press here.