Karachi: Three cameramen of television channels covering the protest of Muttahada Qaumi Movement (MQM) political party were injured when protesters turned violent on August 22, 2016.
Those injured included Muhammad Safeer of Samaa News, Rehan Ahmed of NEO News and Usman Shareef of 24 channel. Safeer and Ahmed received injuries in their leg and Shareef was injured in the chest and ribs.
The violence occurred shortly after MQM chief Altaf Hussain in his telephonic address from London abused the media for ban that has been imposed by the High Court on speeches and statements of the MQM leader. Altaf then directed the workers to attack the offices of Geo
News, Samaa and ARY television channels.
The protesters proceeded to do his bidding and attacked the offices of private television channels ARY News and NEO TV. A Samaa DSNG van was also attacked.
Dozens of protesters ransacked the offices of ARY’s office, smashing doors, windows and equipment with rods and stick and setting fire to several vehicles. Security and technical staff assaulted by the protesters as they tried to stop them from destroying the equipment.
Staffers of Neo TV, whose offices are located in the same building as ARY, were also beaten up.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif strongly condemned the attack on the offices of television channels and termed it “an attack on freedom of press and expression”.
Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ), Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors (CPNE), All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS) and Pakistan Broadcasters Association (PBA) condemned the attack on media houses.
The PBA in its statement said, “Media must be allowed to perform its duties as empowered by the constitution of Pakistan.”