INTERNATIONAL DESK: Harmeet Singh, Pakistan’s pioneering Sikh journalist and anchor, finds himself at a crossroads as he navigates the aftermath of his termination from Public TV. Singh alleges that he is grappling with severe challenges to sustain himself in the country following a dispute involving fake news.
Singh’s dismissal from Public TV came in the wake of a complaint by Shazia Atta Marri, a leader of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and a former minister. Marri accused Harmeet Singh of spreading false information about a raid by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on her residence, purportedly resulting in the recovery of PKR 97 billion, reported ANI.
Singh, who had earned recognition as Pakistan’s first Sikh journalist, admitted that he had shared the news on his X (formerly Twitter) handle @HarmeetSinghPk. He contended that he had disseminated the information after it had already been circulated by numerous local news outlets and independent journalists from Sindh on their respective social media platforms.
Harmeet Singh targeted by PPP politician
Upon learning that the news was inaccurate, Harmeet Singh promptly removed the tweet and issued a written apology to Shazia Marri, acknowledging his error. However, instead of accepting his apology, Marri served him a legal notice, threatening a Rs. 10 billion defamation lawsuit. She also leveraged her political influence to have him terminated from his job, asserting that government advertising would cease and the channel’s license would be revoked if he wasn’t dismissed.
Despite meeting with caretaker Federal Minister for Information, Murtaza Solangi, on September 9, along with senior journalists who assured him of support, Singh reveals that leaders of the PPP have declared that all doors to media houses are now closed for him, effectively ending his journalistic career.
In a video posted on his YouTube channel, Singh expressed his frustration, stating, “It’s becoming very difficult for me to survive. I received numerous job offers from foreign channels, but I wanted to contribute to my country. Unfortunately, I was unaware that this country is a haven for the elite class.”
He continued, “The plight of this country is widely known. Many Sikhs are emigrating in large numbers. My aspiration was to serve this nation and showcase its beauty to the world. However, I miscalculated, and apart from the common people, I did not receive any support.” (R.)