Attack on a Newspaper Office
KARACHI- During the evening of Thursday 18 May 2000, a violent mob, which was protesting the murder of leading Islamic scholar Maulana Yousuf Ludhianvi, attacked, ransacked and set fire to the offices of the Karachi business daily “Business Recorder”. Ludhianvi was killed by unknown gunmen near the Federal B Area of Karachi.
The newspaper office and the bank on the building’s ground floor were badly burnt. Staff members saved their lives by jumping over high walls into the adjacent houses. A number of newspaper employees were trapped in the bungalow compound until late at night because police could not provide protection for them outside. The cars, vans and motorcycles parked inside the newspaper building compound were set ablaze or damaged by angry protestors. The mob also smashed window panes of shops and vehicles in the nearby area. Another bank branch located fifty yards down the road from the “Business Recorder” office was also looted. The Capri cinema was also set ablaze, but firefighters saved it from total destruction.
According to Arshad Zuberi, the newspaper’s chief executive, a violent mob barged into their building shortly before sunset and ransacked and destroyed everything in the newsroom and computer section. They started a fire in the multi-storey office building, which soon engulfed the entire building.
The fire fighters came after two hours and saved some people still trapped inside the building.
The mob’s attitude, Zuberi said, showed that the attack was well planned. He said there was no possibility of the newspaper being published for at least a week because everything has been destroyed. He said that they foresaw the coming attack, and made SOS calls to police and rangers, but no one came to help.
The Karachi Union of Journalists (KUJ) has strongly protested the attack on the offices of the daily “Buisness Recorder” and called it an attack against press freedom. They demanded that the government take stock of the situation, and take appropriate steps to ensure the security of all people, especially journalists.