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March 21, 2012

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Jang offices attacked in Karachi, Geo satellite van damaged

KARACHI: Unidentified armed men riding motorcycles attacked the Jang Group offices on early Tuesday morning and damaged a Geo TV satellite van parked on II Chundrigar Road.
The assailants opened fire outside the Jang Group office and damaged the windscreen of the satellite van. However at the time of the attack, no member of the law enforcement agencies was present at the crime scene and none arrived while the miscreants remained stationed on II Chundrigarh Road for several minutes.
Moreover, unidentified men cut cable wires in different areas and viewers could not see Geo transmission for a short time in some areas. Cable operators received threats from a political party as well which complained of inadequate coverage and forced cable operators to shut down TV channels. Upon refusal of cable operators, cables were cut off.
Separately, Cable Operators Association chairman Khalid Arain and other office-bearers, addressed a press conference in Karachi Press Club (KPC) and said: “We are receiving threats from lawbreakers, while our cables worth millions of rupees have been stolen from various parts of the city.” He threatened to shut down transmission, if protection was not provided to cable operators in 24 hours.
Arain lamented the losses cable operators faced at the hands of unruly activists belonging to a powerful political party in Karachi. He said assailants asked cable operators to shut down top national news channels especially Geo News that “we did not do in the best interest of all viewers.”
He said cable operators had nothing to do with content TV channel telecast. He demanded that the government protect cable operators; otherwise doing business would become impossible and lead to a complete shutdown of the network.
To a question, he said in this city people do not go to a police station to lodge an FIR of murder, how “can we go to register our grievances?”
Meanwhile, the Arambagh police lodged an FIR 87/12 under Section of

352/353/324/34 against Nadeem and Ali in the evening. The police claimed the nominated accused were brothers. However no arrest has been made in the said case yet.
Condemning the firing incident on the office of Jang Group, MQM chief Altaf Hussain said assailants were the worst enemies of media freedom. He called for their immediate arrest irrespective of their political affiliations. He also asked Interior Minister Rehman Malik to arrest the assailants.
He also called for banning parties involved in acts of terrorism and patronising of criminals. He said the firing took place exactly when a crackdown was about to be launched against the bhatta (extortion) mafia in the city.
He requested the interior minister, Sindh governor, chief minister, home minister, IGP, and Rangers DG to deploy police and Rangers personnel at the offices of cable operators in order to thwart any eventuality.
APP adds: Information Minister Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan condemned the attack on the office of Jang Group and damaging of Geo TV’s satellite van. Talking to reporters, she said President Asif Ali Zardari had already condemned the incident.
She said she had called a meeting of cable operators in Karachi today (Wednesday) because nobody had the right to force cable operators to block transmission of any TV channel.
The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) condemned the incident and in separate statements here on Tuesday, PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif and Senator Pervaiz Rashid said they stood with the media in safeguarding the freedom of press. They demanded that the federal and Sindh governments immediately probe the matter and take measures for awarding due punishment to elements involved in the incident.
INP adds: ANP chief Asfandyar Wali Khan condemned the attack on Jang Group office, saying if his party’s workers were involved in the attack, he apologised on behalf of the entire party. He assured that action would be taken against party workers found involved in the attack.
PPI adds: Sindh Home Minister Manzoor Hussain Wassan said no attack on the freedom of the media would be tolerated and the government would provide full protection to journalists. He said directives had already been issued to the Sindh IGP and additional Karachi IG to probe the incident of attack on Jang Group office and cutting of cables.

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