Torture of TV journalists widely condemned
By our correspondent
LAHORE: Political parties, human rights organisations and student leaders have condemned the police torture on journalists and government’s vindictive action against the News Channel ARY, demanding an inquiry into the episode. The PML-Q leaders condemned the police torture on journalists of electronic media and vowed the responsible police officers would be taken to the task. In a joint statement on Monday the PML-Q Punjab President and provincial minister Ch. Zaheer-ud-Din, MNA Mehnaz Rafi and Adivsor to CM Mian Abdul Sattar said Chief Minister Pervaiz Elahi had already taken strict action against the police officers who tortured the journalists.
They said the journalists community is the fourth pillar of the state and the CM himself was monitoring the inquiry against the accused police officers. They suggested strong punishment for the accused police officers according to law. Registering their reaction, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) observed that the thrashing meted out to the three ARY TV journalists by police and the subsequent action taken by the Punjab government to take the channel off air, is and should be condemned in the strongest possible terms.
HRCP secretary general Iqbal Haider stated, “HRCP is angered by the incident, and sees it as yet another blatant effort to curb free expression and muzzle dissenting opinions. It (HRCP) joins journalists in protesting the atrocity. The ARY journalists appeared to have been brutally punished for nothing more than performing their duties”. Lahore PPP Secretary-General MPA Samiullah Khan Monday submitted a call attention notice with the Punjab Assembly Secretariat against the highhandedness of police against Wadood Mushtaq, Nazir Awan and Zahid Malik by DSP Mukhtar Shah and other police officials.
PPP’s Punjab Secretary Information Farzana Raja said public safety commission should take suo motu notice of the incident to provide justice to the aggrieved journalists. The journalist community also demanded immediate arrest of the police officials. Over 200 journalists from print and electronic media gathered outside Punjab Assembly on Monday and chanted slogans against government and the Punjab Police. The demonstration was addressed by PUJ and LPC office-bearers. They said the action taken by the Government against Mukhtar Shah and other officials was not enough and they should be removed from the job.
MMA president and JI Ameer Qazi Hussain Ahmad also condemned the police torture on journalists and the ban on the transmission of a TV channel by the Punjab government, terming it display of dictatorship. Qazi warned that “media friendly” government would not succeed in suppressing the press freedom through its state repression. The IJT Chief Organiser Nusrullah Khan Goraya and Secretary Information Abdul Wadood have also condemned the torture and government action.
Source: The News