Punjab govt protecting those harassing journalists
ISLAMABAD: The Punjab Police officials who played a key role in a campaign to intimidate journalists in recent days and also raided their residences to harass the family members are now playing different tricks to protect their powerful bosses who had ordered them to terrorise citizens.
The Punjab government also made sure that no proper complaint was registered. Not only this, the Punjab government and the police both are protecting the policemen who terrorised journalists and their families, as they are working on their regular posts.
The News reported on May 21 that a team of law-enforcement agencies officials, guided by the Punjab Police, raided the Bahawalpur residence of an Islamabad-based journalist.
To their bad luck, some of the Punjab Police personnel were identified by the locals. Later, the cellphone numbers used to harass the family members of the journalist were also traced to police officials involved in the raid.
Since then, the police are playing a cat and mouse game with the journalist and his family. Even the top cops are not ready to register a complaint. Many in the bureaucracy and police believe the issue will subside with the passage of time or will come to an end soon as the Jang Group is already under extreme pressure these days due to different issues.
The version of the Punjab Police is rather funny. Though officials are not responding on the issue, DPO Bahawalpur Sarfaraz Ahmad Falki told The News very funny things while explaining the raid on the house of the journalist.
“In fact, some ‘respectable people’ came to the Civil Lines Police Station and asked the staff that they wanted to visit the house of journalist (DPO Sarfaraz Falki named the journalist). The Punjab Police officials present at the Civil Lines Police Station only cooperated with the visitors and guided them to the house.”
He further said according to his initial investigations, the police officials continued contacting the family members of the journalist as it was ordered by the people who raided the home of the journalist. When DPO Falki was asked about the identity of the ‘respectable people’, he said he was investigating and will call later.
However, when the DPO didn’t call back, he was approached after great efforts. This time he said the raid teams were looking for a relative of the journalist (DPO named the relative).A few hours before he was confirming that the raid was made to arrest the journalist and also admitted that the Punjab Police not only raided the home of the journalist with some ‘respectable people’ but also continued contacting the family members to know about the whereabouts of the journalist.
When DPO Falki was asked what was the case against the said relative and disclose the identity of ‘respectable guests’, he said he will inform shortly. After that DPO Falki and all other top guns disappeared from the scene and never came on line afterwards.
Falki didn’t even entertain people at his office to receive complaints against the repeated intimidation, threats and raids.The journalist has given in writing to the Jang Group that he faced no case anywhere in Pakistan. Also, there is no case against any relative of the journalist.
DPO Sarfaraz Falki was sent many questionnaires pressing him to disclose the detail of case(s) against the journalist or any of his family members. He was also asked to identify the “respectable people” who raided the home of the journalist along with the Punjab Police but he did not respond. The Punjab government is also aware of the whole episode but is keeping a mum due to unknown reasons.
According to sources, the DPO knew that the whole Punjab Police department in Bahawalpur had been caught red-handed while terrorising the journalist and his family and the available digital evidence could prove it. The intimidation started in April 2014 and still continues.
The FIA after successful investigations arrested a person from Bahawalpur who was using his cellphone to hurl threats but the agency says it could not get any evidence that the arrested person (now released by the Islamabad High Court on bail) had any link with any law enforcement agency.
Now these forces have started using international numbers to hurl threats. The latest incident of intimidation took place on July 10 when the family received a call from an Iran cellphone number +989016140562.
Though The News has no concrete evidence so far to prove who is behind this campaign of intimidation, the people caught red-handed while raiding the journalist’s home belong to the Punjab Police.
A number of journalists and their families are facing this terrible situation. If there is a case against any journalist or any of his family member, he must be arrested, but if there is no such thing, the Punjab Police and its officers like Sarfaraz Falki must come clean and tell the nation about those black sheep in the police department who are behind all these terrorising incidents.