ARY News team member comes under police fire
By: Umer Farooq
PESHAWAR: The driver of an ARY News digital satellite news-gathering (DSNG) van died after being fatally wounded by gunfire, allegedly by the police, during the protests on Friday.
“Wait a while, let me have breakfast… no one knows if we will be able to have lunch,” was how Muhammad Amir, the DSNG van driver, replied to ARY News reporter Shahzad Alam as the team prepared to cover the protests.
Amir, 33, breathed his last at Lady Reading Hospital (LRH), leaving behind three sons (one only seven days old) and a widow. Doctors at LRH tried their level best to save him, but a fatal bullet received in the chest claimed his life within 30 minutes.
“The cameraman had just come up with footage of the riots at Shama Cinema. Amir turned around the van to start the electricity generator so we could ingest the footage,” said DSNG operator Taifal while recalling the incident.
“I heard gunshots and the sound of some bullets hitting the DSNG… when I stepped out, I saw Amir lying beside another person whose legs had been wounded by the fire as well,” he said, adding Amir’s life could have been saved “had we reached the hospital on time… but rioters stopped us on GT Road.”
Taifal said Amir’s family heard that he was injured through news channels. They rushed to the hospital, but were too late to see him alive.
“I tell you from the core of my heart, he was a dedicated team member. He was brave enough to perform his duties in critical conditions and that is why every ARY team member is mourning his sudden departure. The entire team is working with tears filled in their eyes,” said Owais Tauheed, the channel’s senior executive news director. Talking to The Express Tribune by telephone, he said he demanded Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) police to immediately suspend the police personnel involved in his death and bring them to justice.
ARY News Peshawar Bureau chief Zia Khan also asked the provincial government to investigate the incident and bring the culprits to task.
Meanwhile, Peshawar Press Club (PPC) president Saiful Islam and Khyber Union of Journalists (KhUJ) president Arshad Aziz Malik condemned the police brutality and demanded immediate arrest of the policemen involved. Mediapersons also held a demonstration at PPC. KhUJ has planned another protest against the killing at PPC on Saturday (today).