Pakistan: Demonstrators turn violent against Dawn newspaper

A demonstration outside of Dawn newspaper’s Islamabad office in Pakistan on December 2 turned violent with demonstrators threatening staff. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and its affiliate the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) condemn the violent demonstration, urging Pakistan’s government to investigate the incident and ensure the safety of Dawn staff.

Man reads DAWN newspaper Credit: RIZWAN TABASSUM / AFP

The demonstration that turned violent outside of Dawn occurred in response to their report of Usman Khan, who was convicted in the UK for engaging in acts of terrorism. Usman Khan stabbed two people to death at London Bridge on November, 29, 2019. Protestors were angered as they claimed most newspapers in Pakistan reported that Khan had no connection to Pakistan, while Dawn reported Usman Khan was a “UK national of Pakistani origin”.

According to Dawn, the demonstration lasted more than three hours, with protestors besieging the office. People chanted slogans attacking the newspaper and demanded the hanging of Dawn editor Zafar Abbas. After three hours of violent protests, police intervened to disperse the crowds.

The protests were not limited to Dawn, reports have also stated violent slogans were chanted outside Karachi Press Club.

PFUJ said: "It is the right of people to differ from the view point or the story of the Newspaper but no one has right to intimidate or threat working journalists.”

The IFJ said: "The IFJ urges the Pakistan government to increase safety measures to prevent such incidents in future. The IFJ express solidarity with journalists and staffers who have been threatened in the recent demonstrations; it is crucial for people to feel safe at work.” 

For further information contact IFJ Asia - Pacific on [email protected]

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 140 countries

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