Hyderabad heroes of information freedom
HYDERABAD, PAKISTAN: There have been such journalists in many countries who never care for their lives and offer resistance for freedom of information. Pakistan declared dangerous for journalists, however at least 57 journalists were killed in the country since 1992. The list contains Zaman Mahsood, Irshad Jatoi, Shan Dahar, Mukaram Khan Atif, Saleem Shahzad, Abdul Haq Baloch, Aslam Khattak, Javed Rind, Allah Noor, Shahid Soomro, Abdul Haq Baloch, Aurangzeb Tunio, and Lala Hameed Baloch. This mass violence against journalists in Pakistan shows that the country is dangerous for journalists.
Apart from killings sporadic attacks are reported on journalists in almost every city of Pakistan. The Recent attack on media houses as well press clubs after hanging of Mumtaz Qadri, a member of a religious party which professes bigotry. Violence was reported in Lahore, Karachi, Hyderabad and some other cities as the protesters attacked offices of Aaj TV, attacked a DSNG of Express News and ransacked the Hyderabad Press Club, besides manhandling policemen, journalists, and cameramen after execution of Mumtaz Qadri. The protesters laid siege to the Hyderabad Press Club for around two hours while demonstrating against the hanging of Qadri, who shot dead Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer five years ago. Around a dozen media workers were beaten up and several others sustained injuries when they tried to escape from the building. Two reporters and a cameraman suffered fractures when they jumped from the first floor of the press club to save their lives. Seven more media professionals were taken to the hospital.
The vandals also burnt the reception and notice boards and broke all flower pots, mirrors and several glass doors inside the press club. “They kept hurling abuse at journalists challenging them to come out of hiding.The protest outside the club was organised by the Sunni Tehreek and Jamiat Ulema-e-Pakistan (Owais Noorani group). Two police mobiles were parked outside the club for security, but the policemen were also beaten up.
The assailants torched the reception table with precious documents and papers in its drawers. They also forced entry in press club building and ransacked everything that came in their way including furniture, record, etc. including furniture and fixtures in common room and auditorium. They also burnt and stole away hundreds of books in the library of HPC. The journalists informed SSP Hyderabad and DSP Cantt on the telephone, but they did not turn to save journalists and press club. Seeing no other option many jumped walls over Radio Pakistan premises to save lives.
The journalists who were injured in the attack included and were hospitalized were Fahim Babar, Niaz Vighio, Imtiaz Khuhawar, Aijaz Leghari, Photographer Umair Tajput, Farhan and Cameraman Shahid. Assistant Manager of HPC Qasim was also injured brutally by a mob who broke the gate which was locked from the inside by Qasim. The injured journalists were lying helpless at premises of adjacent Radio Pakistan building. Police and ambulances were informed about their critical condition, but none dared to approach them as the religious parties violent blocked both press club and radio buildings. However, police of Hyderabad failed to prove as protectors of citizens. More than 10 vehicles standing outside press club in parking areas including news van of Express TV Channel were also torched and damaged.
In Lahore, In Karachi, protesters attacked the Aaj TV head office near Guru Mandir, drawing widespread criticism from journalists and the government as well. The All-Pakistan Newspapers Society condemned the attacks, terming the ransacking of the offices of Aaj TV, Business Recorder, Express, Neo TV, Daily Naee Baat, AbbTak and other media outlets an affront against the freedom of the press.
Hyderabad Union of Journalists (Dastoor) declares journalists injured in attack on Hyderabad Press Club on 4 March 2016 as Hyderabad Heroes of Freedom of Information. They Are:
1- NIAZ VIGHTIO: SINDHI DAILY MEHRAN
2- FAHIM BABAR: SINDH TV CHANNEL
3- IMTIAZ KHUHAWAR
4- AIJAZ LEGHARI SIINDHI DAILY IBRAT
5- UMAIR RAJPUT PHOTOGRAPHER
6- FARHAN PHOTOGRAPGER
7- SHAHID CAMERAMAN