Well-known Pakistani journalist Absar Alam says he has been wounded in a gun attack in front of his house in Islamabad, triggering condemnations from officials, journalists, and politicians.
In a video shot from inside a vehicle and shared on social media on April 20, Alam said that a bullet hit him in the stomach.
Follow journalist Azaaz Syed later said he had met with Alam in the hospital and that he was “in high spirits and confident.”
“Bullet passed through his body. Doctors say that now he is out of danger,” Syed tweeted.
It was unclear who shot Alam, who is known for his frequent criticism of the military’s meddling in civilian affairs.
“This is my message to the people who shot me: that I am not afraid of such things and I will not be deterred," he said in the video.
Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmad condemned the incident and ordered an investigation.
Maryam Nawaz of the opposition Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz party tweeted: “Silencing the voice of dissent is a cancer that has plagued this country for many years. Absar Alam Sahab is the latest victim of this cruel & barbaric crime.”
Alam is a former editor of the English newspaper The Nation and ex-chairman of the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority.
Media watchdogs in Pakistan and abroad say Pakistani media and journalists have faced increased threats and harassment since the government of Prime Minister Imran Khan took office in 2018 following elections tainted by allegations of manipulation by the military. Khan has rejected the accusations.
Pakistan is ranked 145th out of 180 countries in Reporters Without Borders' 2021 World Press Freedom Index.
According to the Paris-based watchdog, four journalists were killed in the South Asian country last year in connection with their reporting, and “impunity for crimes of violence against journalists is total.”