Masses hold rallies, attack media houses

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Mumtaz Qadri execution protests

Nawaz, Pervaiz condemn attacks

Irfan Aligi

Karachi—Unidentified protestors, who rallied in support of Mumtaz Qadri, who was executed for murdering former Punjab Governor Salman Taseer over views of the later against the law of blasphemy, attacked media houses in Karachi and Hyderabad, Lahore, Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Mardan and Kasur.
Angry protestors attacked Aaj TV offices in Karachi and in Lahore, pelted stones and a few vehicles were damaged.
Hundreds of activists of a religious party had gathered after Friday prayer to protest, They damaged a number of vehicles and AAJ News TV office. They also beat up the staff.
The protestors also attacked a DSNG van of another private TV channel and also broke a camera in Karachi.
They burned old tyres and forced shopkeepers to shut their business in Saddar, Jama Cloth Market area, and other parts of the city. Jamaat-e Islami and Pakistan Sunni Tehreek had also produced large rallies in condemning the execution of Mumtaz Qadri.
Meanwhile, the PFUJ President Rana M. Azeem and Secretary General Amin Yousuf have strongly condemned the manhandling and attack on journalists on Friday.
President Rana Azeem also sustained serious injuries. . PFUJ leadership demanded that the Government should take notice and provide security to media persons and Press Clubs. A mob also attacked Hyderabad Press Club. Many media persons saved their lives by jumping walls. Cameraman Qasim received a fracture in leg while reporter Niaz Vighio also received injuries.
Before arrival of processions, a number of telephones were made to district and divisional authorizes and police but no one attended the calls. .
Later, SSP Hyderabad reached Hyderabad Press Club along with heavy contingent deployed the forces at different spots. Fire tenders were called to control the fire.
Pakistan Broadcaster Association (PBA) condemned the attacks on media organization and journalists, calling on the government to provide security to journalists.
In a statement the PBA expressed complete solidarity with its member channels AAJ News against this act of violence. “PBA terms this act as an attempt to curb freedom of expression and to discourage media from performing its constitutional responsibilities,” it said.
The PBA demanded of the government to initiate an immediate action to apprehend the attackers. “PBA has continuously been drawing attention of the Govt. towards the attacks on media houses, but so far there has been no action taken to either curb this violence or to provide security to media. PBA reiterates and urges the government to immediately take proper and effective measures in this respect,” the statement said.
Editors for Safety (EFS) called on the federal and provincial governments to ensure security of journalists and media houses.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Minister for Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage (IB&NH) Senator Pervaiz Rashid, have strongly condemned the attack on Aaj TV head office Karachi and Lahore Bureau office . In a statement, the minister said attack on any media house tantamounts to curbing freedom of expression.
He said that the provincial governments must take cognizance of the matter and ensure safety and security of media houses and workers.

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