Journalists hold protest, demand SHO’s suspension
PESHAWAR: Journalists on Thursday staged boycott of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly’s coverage to protest the police highhandedness against their colleague and vowed to continue protest till suspension of SHO Yakatoot Police Station. The journalists, who had fastened black ribbons on their arms, staged walkout from the assembly proceedings at its very outset when lawmaker Nighat Yasmin Orakzai took up the issue at a point of order.
Nighat told the house that police, during a so-called search operation in Kakshal area of the provincial metropolis, harassed Mir Kamal Syed, sub-editor of Urdu daily Nai Baat. The police picked up Mir Kamal in the wee hours on Thursday while he was asleep in his home and took him to the Yakatoot Police Station where he was kept in habeas corpus for six long hours.
The male police constables then entered his house and ransacked it. Mir Kamal’s wife, who was all alone in the house after his husband’s arrest, was also harassed by the raiding police party.
The delegation of parliamentarian, led by provincial Minister for Communication and Works Yousaf Ayub and special advisor to chief minister on higher education Mushtaq Ahmad Ghani, visited the protesting journalists and expressed solidarity with them. Opposition members Sardar Hussain Babak of the Awami National Party, Nighat Orakzai of the Pakistan People’s Party, Arbab Akbar Hayat of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, Ishtiaq Urmar of the PTI and others were also part of the delegation.
The protesting journalists, led by Peshawar Press Club general secretary Yousaf Ali and senior vice-president Khyber Union of Journalists Mohammad Naeem, demanded the government to suspend SHO Yakatoot Police Station Shahjehan Afridi, order an inquiry into the incident and ensure protection of journalists in future.
The government representatives, however, failed to meet the journalists’ demands, who decided to boycott the assembly proceedings. The journalists vowed to continue their protest till suspension of the SHO and proper assurance of the government regarding the community’s protection in future.
Meanwhile, Provincial president of Jamaat-i-Islami Prof Mohammad Ibraheem Khan has condemned the police highhandedness and demanded the government to take action against the police officials. In a press statement, Prof Ibraheem and secretary information JI Israrullah said that the journalists should be provided protection.