DHA picks up The Post photographer, declares area as off-limits to photographers -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

DHA picks up The Post photographer, declares area as off-limits to photographers

LAHORE: A staff photographer of The Post was unlawfully detained by Defence Housing Authority (DHA) employees on Tuesday night when he was performing his duties on the Main Boulevard of the DHA.

According to details, following several complaints received by the editor of The Post from the residents of the DHA that due to the sheer negligence of the authority, stinking water had been inundating the Main Boulevard for the last many days, staff photographer Waqas Shafee was assigned the task to take photographs of the road.

When the photographer reached there, he was held by staffers of the DHA and taken to an unknown area in Z-Block of the DHA.

The detainee contacted The Post administration and was released on inference by the Inter Services Public Relations, Lahore, after half an hour. Meanwhile, the staffers of the DHA not only deleted the photographs captured by Waqas, but also snatched other important documents from him.

It is pertinent to mention here that DHA is a residential as well as commercial area where social programmes are regularly held, in which journalists participate. Thus the version of the DHA spokesman that the housing authority is a no-go area for journalists is not based on facts.

The DHA employees detained Waqas Shafee unlawfully only to stop him from his professional responsibilities and to hide their negligence.

Meanwhile, the Punjab Union of Journalists (PUJ) and the Lahore Press Club (LPC) have strongly condemned the torture and illegal confinement of The Post photographer by DHA security officials, terming it an effort to suppress the freedom of the press.

PUJ President Arif Hameed Bhatti and LPC General Secretary Syed Shoaib-ud-Din said that torturing journalists by secret agencies personnel, police and other security agencies have become a routine matter, which is aimed at usurping the freedom of the press.

They said Waqas had not gone to take snaps of any sensitive area-but to have photos of a road inundated by sewerage water. PUJ and LPC warned that if action was not taken against the people responsible for the illegal action, the journalist community would lodge a strong protest.

LAHORE: DHA spokesman Tajamal Hussain has said that DHA is a prohibited area for photographers, while Mr Waqas was taking photos without prior permission from the authority.
Source: The Post
Date:8/15/2007