Guardian journalist assaulted by the police in Pakistan
Waqar Kiani, 32, Pakistan-based correspondent of British newspaper “Guardian” was assaulted allegedly by police in Islamabad, the capital city of Pakistan on 18 June, 2011. He was attacked after five days of a news report published in Guardian and other newspapers about abduction and torture by suspected Pakistani intelligence agents in July 2008 in Islamabad.
Kiani told Pakistan Press Foundation that he was on his way home from Islamabad on Saturday night when some policemen in a police van ordered him to stop and get out of the car and said that they had to search his car. As he stepped out, four police personnel started beating him with sticks and a rubber flog. “They said ‘You want to be a hero? We’ll make you a hero’,” “‘We’re going to make an example of you’.” Kiani received injuries on his face and back and was shifted to the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) by rescue services, where he was given medical aid.
According to press reports, The Guardian had last week published a report in which it had said that ‘in 2008 Kiani was abducted, blindfolded, beaten and burned with cigarettes. The ordeal ended 15 hours later when his abductors dumped him 120 miles from Islamabad, warning they would rape his wife and post the video on YouTube if he told anyone’. The newspaper said Kiani had been working on a story about the illegal detention and torture of Islamist militants by Pakistani intelligence in collaboration with British intelligence. His research led him to an office of the Intelligence Bureau, the main civilian spy agency.
Kiani also told PPF that he believed that the recent attack is due to two reasons: first reason is the report published in local and international newspapers, some days ago about his abduction and beating by Pakistani intelligence agencies in July 2008 and secondly due to his recent interviews on local TV channels in which he criticized the worst state of journalism in the country and also talked about attack on him in 2008.
Interior minister Rehman Malik ordered a judicial inquiry by a magistrate and a police inquiry. He said that he has acted without any delay and the investigation is on without any issue.
The Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists condemned the attack, demanding the government to ensure security for journalists at all costs.
The Islamabad Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Tahir Alam however asserted that preliminary investigation shows that no police personnel or vehicle were involved in the incident.
Source: Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)