Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins its affiliate the Pakistan Federal Union
of Journalists (PFUJ) in condemning the assault of a journalist in Islamabad late on June 18.
Waqar Kiani, 32, who works for local
and international newspapers including the UK Guardian, said he was intercepted by four men wearing police
uniforms, according to local news reports.
Kiani was severely beaten after
being forced from his car. He was later discharged from hospital after
treatment for injuries to his chest and back.
The assault came five days after the
Guardian published a report by Kiani
in which he described being abducted and tortured before being dumped about 200
kilometres from Islamabad,
in July 2008. He suspected his attackers on that occasion were linked to intelligence
Kiani believes recent coverage of
his report on a local television channel triggered the June 18 assault,
according to the Guardian, which had
withheld the story for three years until June 13.
The attack occurred almost three
weeks after Syed Saleem Shahzad disappeared in Islamabad on May 29, two days after
publishing a report into alleged links between Al-Qaeda and Pakistani naval
officials. Shahzad’s body was found about 150 kilometres away on May 31.
“The IFJ is alarmed by increasing
reports of attacks on journalists in Pakistan,” IFJ
Asia-Pacific Director Jacqueline Park said. “This disturbing
trend underscores the urgent need for a prompt and detailed inquiry at the very
least into the abduction and murder of Syed Saleem Shahzad.”
Late last week, the Federal
Government ceded to PFUJ demands that it establish a judicial commission headed
by a Supreme Court justice to investigate Shahzad’s case, following nation-wide
demonstrations and a sit-in by journalists at the Federal Parliament in Islamabad.
However, while the Government said that
Justice Saqib Nisar would head the inquiry, Nisar said the decision about whom
to appoint must be up to the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.
The PFUJ has filed a petition with
the Supreme Court for constitution of the commission.
PFUJ secretary-general Amin Yousuf stressed
that an increasing trend of targeting journalists for the content of their
journalistic work must be addressed. He demanded the Government ensure security
for Kiani and all journalists “at all costs”.
information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific
on +61 2 9333 0919
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