Pakistani journalist to discuss his deadly job

Umar Cheema

In Pakistan, writing about government corruption is risky business, resulting in the death of a prominent reporter earlier this month.

On July 1, Umar Cheema, an investigative reporter from Islamabad, will be in St. Louis to discuss and lead a panel discussion about the often deadly task of writing about corruption in the Pakistani army and intelligence services.

Last September, Cheema was abducted and tortured by thugs he believes belong to the Pakistani spy agency after publishing stories critical of the organization. But he hasn’t allowed the abduction to intimidate him. Instead, he speaks publicly whenever he can about what happened, and about the risks journalists face daily in Pakistan.

Recently, the New York Times published an opinion piece by Cheema on the death of a colleague and his own abduction.

Joining Cheema on the panel will be Bob Dietz of the Committee to Protect Journalists and Anwar Iqbal of Dawn News, a publication in Pakistan.

The forum will be at 2:30 p.m. at St. Louis Convention Center, room 232. There will be a luncheon preceding the talk at 12:30 in the same room. The event is hosted by Allama Iqbal Medical College Alumni Association of North America, a component society of the Association of Physicians of Pakistani descent of North America.

There is no charge but reservations can be made through St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter Elisa Crouch at ecrouch@post-dispatch.com, or by calling 314-340-8119.

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