Condemning the curbs on freedom of expression Senator Farhatullah Babar called it part of pre-poll rigging and a manifestation of the state besieged by invisible de-facto state within the state. He said this while addressing a protest demonstration organised by the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists against the curbs on circulation of a leading daily in cantonment areas and other pressure tactics to curb freedom of expression, in Islamabad on Wednesday. The de-facto is unaccountable and works at cross purposes with the de-jure and elected, he said. Not long ago the de-jure state surrendered before mob violence at Faizabad because the de-facto supported it, he said. Lately the de-facto has stopped the circulation of the newspaper in selected areas of the country. He said that no one could stop the paper’s circulation in cantonment areas and the garrison state itself was directly responsible for it. Freedom of expression is curbed to cover up the unaccountable de-facto. He said that the garrison state was not only manipulating media freedoms it had also started in building its own media empire like the 56 business and industrial complexes it had already built. He recalled that late lawyer and activist Asma Jahangir had petitioned before the Supreme Court to order the government to disclose the number of media outlets run by Inter Services Public Relations its sources of income and to ensure that these were properly monitored by the relevant regulatory authorities and asked the human rights bodies to take up the threads from where Asma Jahangir had left. Those who addressed the meeting included Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed, Afzal Butt, Tahira Abdullah, Kamran Murtaza and several journalists and political parties’ representatives. Published in Daily Times, July 12th 2018.