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Journalists' union president threatened with death if he attends IFJ World Congress

(IFJ/IFEX) - The following is a 25 May 2007 IFJ media release:

IFJ Calls for Action after Threat to Kill Pakistan Union President Bound for World Journalists' Congress

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today called on Pakistani authorities to urgently investigate and find the person responsible with threatening to kill Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) President Syed Huma Ali if he attends the IFJ World Congress in Moscow.

"This is an outrageous threat to a journalists' leader made worse by the fact that his mission to Moscow is to join other journalists of the world in launching a campaign against the scourge of violence and intimidation that threatens media," said IFJ General Secretary Aidan White. "The police and authorities in Pakistan must take urgent and immediate action to find those responsible and ensure our colleague travels safely."

Ali said he was threatened as he was preparing for his trip to Moscow to attend the IFJ Congress. "An unidentified caller called me from the mobile number 0301-8740570 and threatened me before my departure from the Islamabad airport," Ali said. "I called him back and the caller picked up the phone and repeated his threat. I have informed government officials about it and asked them to investigate the case and arrest the person," he said.

The PFUJ said it is concerned that this unknown person has found out about the IFJ Congress and said it suspected an intelligence agency had some role in the threat.

The IFJ is calling on the government to launch an immediate investigation into this threat and make sure that Ali is not harmed.

"In this case, there seems to be a good lead for law enforcement to follow," White said. "We urge them to act immediately to bring to justice whoever is behind this threat."

The IFJ represents over 500,000 journalists in more than 100 countries worldwide.

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