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Artists and Activists See Tighter Controls on Expression in Pakistan

Artists and Activists See Tighter Controls on Expression in Pakistan 

Workers removed tombstones that were part of Adeela Suleman’s exhibit at Frere Hall in Karachi, Pakistan

No sooner had Pakistani artist Adeela Suleman’s exhibit opened at the Karachi Biennale

last week than she had an encounter that artists, writers, journalists and activists say has

become common under the current government: It was shut down.

Her installation, a work that referenced the case of a police officer accused of being

behind more than 400 murders and assassinations, was then wrecked and carted off in

a truck.

Pakistani authorities are cracking down on free speech, a move critics say reflects a

renewed authoritarianism driven by the military but veiled with the veneer of an elected


Criticism of national-security issues and coverage of the political opposition has all but

disappeared from news broadcasts as a result of pressure and guidance from the media

regulator and security officials, according to local journalists.