Another Assault on Journalist in Pakistan Condemned

The International

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

agencies.

 

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”.

 

For further

information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific

on +61 2 9333 0919

 

The IFJ

represents more than 600,000 journalists in 131 countries

 

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@ifjasiapacific

 

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