IFJ Condemns Army Personnel Charged with Torturing Pakistani Photojournalist

The International Federation of Journalists today condemned the violent attack and torture of a news photographer by personnel from the National Logistic Cell (NLC), a division of Pakistan’s army.

Daily Express Faisalabad photographer and executive member of the Faisalabad Union of Journalists, Mr Asadullah, was attacked after taking photos of a youth being beaten by NLC personnel at a busy intersection outside Chiniot bazaar.

“The IFJ is outraged by this attack. It is abhorrent that journalists continue to be the victims of brutal treatment at the hands of authorities,” said IFJ President Christopher Warren.

“A free, independent media cannot flourish while such attacks continue to occur. The government must provide for the security of journalists, particularly photojournalists,” said the IFJ President.

NLC personnel took Mr Asadullah to their camp office, took his camera and violently beat him. The photographer was also threatened with death.

When confronted by other journalists who visited the site after hearing of the incident, NLC personnel verbally abused the journalists.

Local police arrested eight NLC personnel after Mr Asadullah and other journalists alerted them about the incident. The district police chief has ordered the case be registered and the arrested NLC personnel charged for threatening the photographer with dire consequences, torture and illegal detention.

The IFJ applauds the Pakistani police for their swift intervention and encourages them to continue to do all they can to stamp out press freedom violations.

Meanwhile, the IFJ has welcomed the release of newspaper editor Mohammid Tahir, on September 9.

Wajood editor, Mohammid Tahir was released on bail by the Supreme Court of Sindh province after being held by authorities for nearly two months.

Tahir and Friday Special deputy editor, Abdul Latif Abu Shamil, were arrested on July 19 for publishing excerpts of a book that the government considered to incite religious hatred. Shamil was released on bail in Karachi on August 5.

On August 15, the Sindh government banned the two newspapers, along with Islamist weeklies, Zarb-e-Islam and Zarb-e-Momin, for allegedly inciting religious hatred. The newspapers have denied the charges.

“While the IFJ welcomes the long-awaited release of Mohammid Tahir, the Pakistan government cannot continue to stifle the freedom and independence of the press by imprisoning journalists. The IFJ calls on authorities to respect freedom of expression and press rights,” said the IFJ President.

For more information please contact Christopher Warren +61 (0) 411 757 668
The IFJ represents more than 500,000 journalists in over 110 countries