Punjab Police, ISI officials thrash and detain journalists


LAHORE: Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) sleuths and police constables thrashed and detained journalists over a minor issue in front of the office of Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif in the Civil Lines Police precincts on Wednesday.
The journalists from print and electronic media staged a protest forcing the Civil Lines Police to register cases against the security personnel. The police later arrested four including Asim, Tanveer, Farooq, Baber of the Tipu Company after registering a case against the aforementioned accused and several unidentified persons.
JOURNALISTS THRASHED: On Wednesday, media was invited at a function hosted by the Punjab chief minister in honour of his Balochistan counterpart and students from that province given admission in Punjab as a goodwill gesture. Arslan Bhatti, a reporter of Duniya TV, like a number of other journalists reached 90-Shahrah-e-Quaid-e-Azam to cover the event.
While he was trying to park his car at the Zoo parking, located adjacent to the office of the chief minister, constable Farooq approached and ordered him not to park his car on the spot. Arslan and Farooq had an argument during which three friends of Farooq namely Tanveer, Baber and Asim also reached there and started beating up Arslan.
The reporters from other news channels were trying to control the situation when a group of armed policemen started thrashing them all. According to the journalists, the police and ISI personnel, some of whom in plain clothes, took them inside the ISI office and detained them for half an hour. The journalists alleged that they were tortured while in the detention.
JOUNALISTS PROTEST: The journalists blocked The Mall and lodged a protest against the Punjab Police and ISI officials. Lahore Press Club President Sarmad Bashir lead the protest and said the media has always been a ‘soft target’ for the government and its staffers have faced torture in the past, but now journalists will not bear such treatment.
He said that they have taken Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) in confidence and will protest across the country to save the freedom of media. Punjab Union of Journalist (PUFJ) President Rai Husnain Tahir condemned the incident, saying there was no difference between the previous dictatorial regimes and the current government.
MPAs Zaeem Qadri, Dost Muhammad Khosa on the directions of the chief minister came out of the CM Office and talked to the journalists’ representatives and on their demand ordered immediate arrest of the four nominated policemen. The Civil Lines Police registered a case against four identified and several unidentified men on the complaint of Lahore Press Club President Sarmad Bashir.
CM HOLDS A MEETING: Later, Punjab chief minister called the journalists inside his office and held a meeting. The media representatives informed him about the actual situation over which CM apologized. The delegation informed the CM that there had been no progress in previous cases of torture on journalists.
Shahbaz constituted a four-member committee under the supervision of Punjab Assembly Deputy Speaker Rana Mashhood, which would probe all such matters along with media representatives and take action against the responsible in a few days.