Army major manhandled Dawn reporter -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Army major manhandled Dawn reporter

ISLAMABAD- A senior Dawn staffer, Faraz Hashmi was physically assaulted by a serving army officer after their cars collided at a sharp U-turn near the Press Information Department offices.

As the two cars stepped, following the not so serious collision, Maj. Fawad Hafiz rushed out of his car (S-4563) and started punching and kicking Mr. Hashmi, who was busy examining the damage caused to the two vehicles.

The attack by the heavyset army officer was so deadly, that Mr. Hashmi, who was caught unawares, fell back with blood pouring from a wide and deep cut under his left eye. The traffic police personnel present at the Zero point check post, which was a few yards from the scene of the incident, did not bother to rescue him.

The injured journalist who was on his way to office after attending a Foreign Office briefing, war taken to the Federal Government Services Hospital for emergency help.

Despite bringing the incident to the notice of Senior Superintendent Police (SSP) Islamabad, Nasir Khan Durrani and presence of initial medical report; the police refused to lodge ‘the attacker, an First Information Report (FIR) against the attacker.

According to the rules, a serving army officer cannot be arrested. However, an FIR will be registered after the investigation is completed,” the SSP said.

Late night reports suggested that police were reportedly influencing the injured journalist to compromise with the army officer; however, the SSP denied any such happening.

Later, according to eyewitnesses, the major visited the police station concerned with some persons in civilian, clothes, who claimed to be belonging to the Military Intelligence.

When the major, who claimed to be learning “new languages” at the National, University of Modern Languages, came to know that the victim was a journalist, he told the policemen that “he had to go and inform his high-ups.

According to the police sources, they were pressured by “the higher authorities” not to, register the FIR and get the matter between the two parties resolved amicably.

The dent on the major‘s car is not as evident as the permanent scar left on the face of Mr. Hashmi, a journalist who observed the cars and the victim said.

According to the initial medical report of the hospital, the victim received skin-deep wounds on his face,

The X-ray report, according to the chief medical officer (CMO}, Dr Mubeen reflected a possible hairline fracture of the nasal bone. However, since the matter was referred by the police, the CMO referred the case to radiologist for expert opinion. The radiologist was not present on duty when the X-ray examined.

The policemen at Aabpara police station said they would like to wait for the X-ray report by the radiologist before proceeding on Mr. Hashmi’s application. The FIR will be registered only when the expert opinion is obtained, the police officer said.

Prominent counsel of the Supreme Court, Ilyas Choudhary, who is an expert on criminal law, said,” this is a cognizable offence and if police fail to register the FIR, doors are open for invoking the writ jurisdiction of the superior judiciary for the purpose,”

“In this case, criminal farce was used to cause grievous hurt and the police were duty bound to register the FIR,” he added.

Fax messages were sent to the president and the interior minister, bringing the non-registration of the FIR to their notice, but no action had been taken till the filing of the report.

Source: Dawn
Date:11/18/2001