By News Desk
ISLAMABAD: Senior journalist and former chairman of the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) Absar Alam was shot in Islamabad outside his residence on Tuesday.
Absar Alam received a bullet in his ribs damaging his liver, the hospital sources disclosed when contacted. He was shifted to hospital where bullet has been removed from his body. The assailant managed to escape after the shootout. Police have taken up the case and started efforts to hunt down the shooter.
Sarfaraz, a family member of Absar Alam, told The News that the bullet damaged his liver, however, his condition is out of danger.
"Absar Alam was walking in F-11/2 outside his house in street-20 when he saw a suspicious person forwarding towards him, and suddenly the suspect took out his gun and shot at him,” Sarfaraz said and added that he fell down after sustaining bullet in his lower ribs.
Absar Alam was shifted to private hospital in F-10 where the bullet was removed.
In a video message, Absar Alam said, “My message to those who did this is that I am not scared by such tactics.”
But he didn’t indicate the identity of those who were involved in the attack.
Minister for Interior Shaikh Rashid, taking notice of the incident, has ordered the Inspector General of Islamabad to launch an inquiry and immediately arrest the people involved.
In his statement to the police, the senior journalist said the man who shot him was likely 27 or 28 years old.
Absar Alam said he was walking in a park near his house where the young man was also present. “The man was carrying a pistol and shot at me,” he said.
Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry condemned the incident and said the government had directed the police to probe the matter.
The minister said as soon as further details of the incident are available, he would share them with the media.
The PMLN Vice-President Maryam Nawaz, also condemning the incident, said silencing the voice of dissent is a cancer that has “plagued this country for many years”.
“Absar Alam sahab is the latest victim of this cruel and barbaric crime. May Allah SWT heal his wounds and the wounds of this country,” she added. The PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari deplored the incident and demanded that the people involved in the incident be arrested.
“An inquiry should be launched into the incident,” Bilawal said as he prayed for the early recovery of the journalist.
Jamaat-e-Islami chief Sirajul Haq said he was saddened to hear of the incident and strongly condemns it. He said it is worrying to see such a state of affairs in the capital.
Other notable figures, such as PPP’s Farhatullah Babar, also condemned the incident in strong terms.
The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) also strongly condemned the “assassination attempt” on the senior journalist.
“HRCP sees such cowardly acts of violence against journalists as an assault on an already muzzled media,” it added.
The spokesperson for the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) condemned the attack on Absar Alam and demanded the culprits be immediately arrested and punished.
The Association of Electronic Media Editors and News Directors strongly condemned the gun attack on Absar Alam.
It demanded that the government and law enforcement agencies should investigate and arrest the culprit(s) behind this cowardly act.
The journalists of Pakistan Press Club in Brussels and the Journalists Forum in Jeddah also condemned the alleged assassination attempt on Absar Alam.
“Journalists cannot be silenced through such tactics,” the journalists in Brussels said.
Karachi Press Club president Fazil Jameeli, secretary Muhammad Rizwan and other office-holders have also condemned assassination attempt on Absar Alam and prayed for his early recovery. They expressed concern over increase in attacks on journalists and demanded the government to take concrete steps for stopping such incidents in future.
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