Pakistan: Journalist Ayaz Amir attacked in Lahore

Unidentified assailants assaulted senior Pakistani journalist Ayaz Amir as he left a televised debate program in Lahore on July 1. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and its Pakistan affiliate, the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ), condemn the attack on Ayaz Amir and call for swift action to bring the perpetrators to justice.

Pakistani journalist Ayaz Amir sits in his vehicle directly after being attacked in Lahore on July 1. Credit: Twitter

Ayaz Amir was attacked shortly after recording his television show for Dunya News. His car was blocked by another vehicle after he left his office on Abbott Road in the Qila Gujjar Singh police district of Lahore.

Six unidentified assailants stopped Amir’s car, attacked him, and tore his clothing off. The attackers forced him out of his vehicle and stole his phone and money, threatening Amir and leaving him with visible bruises on his face.

The incident was reported to Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Punjab Chief Minister Hamza Shehbaz, who requested an investigation from the inspector general of the Punjab police.

The assault occurred a day after Amir criticised Pakistan’s military establishment at a seminar organised by the Islamabad High Court Bar Association. In his speech, Amir referred to army generals as “property dealers”.

The journalist addressed former Prime Minister Imran Khan, who was also in attendance, and said, "you handed over the country to property dealers."

The attack has prompted a wave of indignation among the country's journalists. According to the Association of Electronic Media Editors and News Directors (AEMEND), assaults and harassment are intended to prohibit journalists from freely expressing their views.

According to the IFJ’s South Asia Press Freedom Report 2021-2022, several key safety-related challenges adversely affect journalists and media workers in Pakistan including the continuing spate of physical attacks on journalists due to their work.

PFUJ strongly condemned the “inhuman behavior and torture of a journalist”. PFUJ President GM Jamali and Secretary General Rana Muhammad Azeem demanded the government arrest the culprits and put them behind bars.

The IFJ said: “The Pakistani authorities must act to swiftly to bring those involved in incidents of violence against journalists and media workers to justice. More must be done to safeguard freedom of expression and freedom of press in Pakistan. The IFJ condemns the attack on journalist Ayaz Amir and calls for an immediate investigation.”

For further information contact IFJ Asia - Pacific on ifj@ifj-asia.org

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

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