Torture of Sar-e-Aam host Iqrarul Hassan and his team by IB officials is highly condemnable
Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF) strongly condemns the attack on ARY News host and journalist Iqrarul Hassan and his team by officials of the Intelligence Bureau (IB). Such an attack on members of the media by a state agency is not only condemnable but alarming. It is a reminder of the overreach state authorities in Pakistan often exercise in their treatment of journalists.
On February 15, Sar-e-Aam host Hassan and his team were subjected to an attack by IB officials after they had found an official “taking money during door to door NADRA verification in a sting operation in Karachi’s Orangi area,” ARY News reported.
According to Hassan, his team and him were “stripped naked, beaten up and electric shocks were inflicted on delicate parts of their bodies on the orders of Director IB Syed Rizwan”.
The attack was widely condemned. ARY Director News Ammad Yousaf strongly condemned the torture of the Sar-e-Aam team. He appreciated the immediate response from the Prime Minister’s house.“We demand inquiry against responsible officials, just suspension is not justice,” he added.
The Association of the Electronic Media Editors and News Directors (AEMEND) said: “It is not acceptable to take out anger on a journalist’s investigative story; however, any cowardly action cannot stop a media from carrying out its duties.”
Karachi Press Club President Fazil Jamili strongly condemned the torture of the media team and demanded an independent probe in this regard.
Following the incident, a notification was issued by the IB Director General Iftikhar Nabi regarding the suspension of five officials “for mistreatment of ARY News team and mishandling the situation,” Dawn reported. The suspension of the officials suspected to be involved in the attack on the ARY News team is a first step. PPF calls on the authorities to complete the investigation and ensure appropriate action so that such acts against the media do not continue to take place with impunity for the perpetrators.
Such attacks on the media will continue to have a chilling effect on press freedom in the country. They are a reminder of the need to to effectively implement the recently passed legislation in both Sindh and at the national level for the protection of journalists.