IFJ Welcomes Arrests in Pakistan

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) in welcoming prompt action by police in Pakistan to arrest bank security staff who attacked and illegally detained television news crews in Islamabad on April 27.


The PFUJ, an IFJ affiliate, reports that security personnel at Zarai Taraqiati Bank (ZTBL) assaulted and detained Samar Abbas and Asif Mirza, of Dawn News, and Wasim Malik and Liaqat Abbasi, of Samaa TV, as they reported on an investigation by Pakistan’s Revenue Department into a debt owed by the bank to the Employees Old-Age Benefits Institution (EOBI).


As an EOBI team sought to act on a warrant to seal property at the bank, bank employees tore at the clothes of media personnel, and broke equipment including cameras and phones, according to the PFUJ.


After bank security personnel detained the media workers in an office at the bank, PFUJ President Pervaiz Shaukat assisted police to gain their release.


The Rawalpindi Islamabad Union of Journalists (RIUJ), an affiliate of the PFUJ, and the injured media workers have lodged complaints with local police.


According to news reports, police detained three bank security personnel, who all are retired army officers, and two to four more staff members.


“The IFJ welcomes the quick response of Pakistan’s authorities to the attack on media teams in Islamabad, but strongly urges power-holders at the federal and provincial levels to take just as prompt action to investigate fully and effectively all attacks on media personnel across the country,” IFJ Asia-Pacific Director Jacqueline Park said.


The IFJ calls for prompt investigations by police into continuing violence against media in the country’s conflict zones, including a blast at the offices of private radio station FM 93 Radio Dilbar in Charsadda, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, at 1.25am on April 19.


According to the Khyber Union of Journalists, an affiliate of the PFUJ, Radio Dilbar stopped transmission for about three hours after equipment was damaged in the blast, which was triggered by remote control. No one was injured.


The motivation for the attack is not clear. While militants are suspected, no group has claimed responsibility.


For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +612 9333 0919


The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 125 countries


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