KARACHI: Activists of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) once again targeted the employees of Jang and Geo Group, including a senior person and two female reporters of Geo News during the party’s protest coverage here on Friday.
The staff of Geo News, including senior anchor and female reporters of the organisation, was busy in covering the PTI’s sit-in protest at different locations of Karachi including the Nursery Stop on the main Sharae Faisal.
As soon as the PTI chief finished his speech and left the demonstration venue i.e. the Nursery Stop, the PTI workers surrounded the Geo News team including its female reporters Sidrah Dar and Umaimah. The protesters also showed shoes to these reporters. The enraged workers threw stones and empty bottles at the Geo’s Digital Satellite News Gathering (DSNG) van.
Moreover, they also dragged the female reporter Sidrah andphysically tortured her. For the time being, Gharedah Farooqi, the anchor of a private TV channel, rescued Sidrah from the PTI workers and took her into the van. However the PTI workers continued to hurl abuses at her.
The PTI workers also threw sticks and empty bottles and stone at the senior analyst Mazhar Abbas and other staff of the Geo News.Sindh Information Minister Sharjeel Memon condemned the attack on the women journalists by PTI workers, saying that the incident was shameful. Memon said PTI chief Imran Khan had introduced the culture of hooliganism in politics.
Senior journalists Mazhar Abbas and Talat Hussain also condemned the attack on Geo News staff and asked Imran Khan to control his workers.Talat Hussain said the trend of using abusive language against the opponents needed to be stopped because “if you use abusive language for someone today, you will have to face the same tomorrow”.
Karachi Police Chief Ghulam Qadir Thebo said that they had not yet received any written complaint from the Geo Administration regarding the harassment and attack on their team. He said as soon as they received the complaint from them, an FIR would be lodged and action would be taken against the perpetrators.
Earlier, Thebo while talking to Geo News said that PTI wanted to make a ‘big news story’ in Karachi, however, police were vigilant and did not let it do so. He said that police had not resorted to any baton-charge, adding that no one was booked and arrested and that the situation was under control. Moreover, on the directives of the higher officials, the police gave a free hand to the PTI, Thebo said and added that PTI had been given free hand for democracy.
Meanwhile, various political parties and journalist organisations condemned the attack on Geo News staff by PTI workers during the coverage of party’s protest.Leaders of different groups of PFUJ termed the attack shameful.
Online adds: Federal Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid appreciated Geo News team for performing professional duties, saying that journalists had to face threats and hooliganism by political parties.
“Behaviour of PTI workers can be changed, if the party leader Imran Khan changes his culture of speeches”, Pervaiz added.Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazal (JUI-F) leader Maulana Ghafoor Haideri termed the attack on Geo News crew an attack on freedom of media and said PTI was a ‘non-serious’ political party. “Attack on a female journalist is shameful”, he added.
On the other hand, Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) Coordination Committee asked the PTI leadership to educate its workers urging the party leaders to stop its activists from attacking and harassing the journalists.
The journalist community has condemned the misconduct during the protest of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) against the coverage staff of different TV channels, especially the female reporter of Geo.
Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) President Afzal Butt, Secretary General Khursheed Abbasi, Council of Pakistan Press Clubs Convener Arshad Ansari, Karachi Press Club President Muhammad Imtiaz Khan Faraan and Secretary Amir Latif have denounced the misbehaviour against the staff of Geo, Abb Takk, and Capital TV.
They said that these incidents had put a question mark on the apology of PTI Chairman Imran Khan rendered to PFUJ.The leaders of the journalist fraternity have stated that journalists have nothing to do with politics but before this, such incidents took place against which PFUJ had protested, and PTI Chairman Imran Khan apologised for it. “But, violence against journalists during the demonstration in Karachi proved that the workers of PTI do not follow their own leadership,” they remarked.
The office-bearers of PFUJ, Council of Pakistan Press Clubs and Karachi Press Club have stated that if, despite the apology by PTI chairman, the misbehaviour against media persons continued, they would call for countrywide protest on behalf of press clubs and journalists’ organisations.
Meanwhile, in a joint statement, PFUJ President Afzal Butt, and Secretary General Khursheed Abbasi, have strongly denounced the PTI workers’ misbehaviour against senior journalist and former secretary general of PFUJ, Mazhar Abbas, expressed their dismay over the incident and demanded that freedom of media should not be curbed.