Pakistan: Police assault two journalists, cameraman
Police in Lahore,
the capital city of Punjab, Pakistan’s largest province, brutally assaulted and injured two journalists and a cameraman on September 17, 2006. The journalists were assaulted by the police at the venue of a public rally by a religions political party.
According to Wadood Mushtaq, Senior Reporter of ARY TV, he saw about two dozen policemen beating Nazir Awan, reporter of ATV, another television channel, and asked his cameraman to film the scene.
Mushtaq informed the police that the person being beaten was a journalist and asked why they were assaulting him. Instead of answering him, some policemen started beating him as well. Police also dragged Zahid Malik, cameraman of ATV channel, and beat him mercilessly. Later, police hauled the journalists to the police lockup.
Malik and Awan were unconscious while Mushtaq was in a state of semi-consciousness.
Mushtaq, who is a heart patient, felt his heart pounding and asked for water but the police refused and ordered me to sit quietly.
After about forty minutes the bureau chief of ARY TV along with the Punjab Public Relations Director General reached the police station, and later senior police officers also reached there and shifted the journalists to the Hospital.
Mushtaq received injuries to his head, face, nose and back; Awan had a fractured arm and bruises on his whole body and Malik’s backbone was injured.
Federal, provincial and city journalists’ bodies condemned the police assault of the journalists during discharge of their duties. The office-bearers of the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists, Punjab Union of Journalists and All Pakistan Newspaper Employees Confederation, in a joint meeting held here on Sunday, adopted a unanimous resolution, asking the government not to make the country a police state.
Punjab province’s Chief Minister Chaudhry Pervaiz, ordered immediate sacking of the responsible besides a departmental action against them. A handout by the government of Punjab said that the chief minister warned that no leniency would be shown to the policemen involved in the incident. City police authorities suspended two police officers and registered a case against them.
A spokesman for ARY TV said the provincial government had no authority to do so under the law and asked the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) to intervene.