Senior Pakistani journalist arrested,
government calls him 'RAW spy'
A dozen policemen stormed the home of prominent journalist Najam Sethi early today and took him into custody, accusing him of having links with an Indian spy agency, witnesses and a government spokesman said.
"It is suspected that Sethi has connections with RAW," the Indian spy agency, according to a government statement issued after his arrest.
Sethi is being interrogated by Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence, the statement said.
Sethi's arrest follows several recent attacks, threats and arrests on journalists by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharief's government.
Police broke the gate of Sethi's home in the Punjab provincial capital of Lahore, barged into his bedroom, and arrested him, said his wife Jugnoo Mohsin.
According to Mohsin, when she tried to stop the police, one officer said, "We can shoot him if we want to. Do you want us to do that?"
Mohsin said they forced her into the bathroom, locked the door, and took away her husband, who owns the weekly English-language newsmagazine, The Friday Times.
The magazine has been critical of Sharief's government and Sethi has issued public statements saying he feared arrest.
"Basically this is an attack on the freedom of the press," said Mohsin, who is also a journalist.
Mohsin today filed an appeal before the Lahore high court challenging Sethi's arrest.
The government statement said Sethi made a "very damaging" and "derogatory" speech against Pakistan during a recent visit to India.
Sethi created a "dismal picture of Pakistan to create despondency and doubts in the minds of Pakistanis" at the behest of the Indian spy agency, it said.
But according to yesterday's issue of The Friday Times, Sethi in an editorial said his comments were taken out of context by some newspapers in Pakistan and the state-run television.
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