Senior photojournalist injured in students protest

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Sultan Bashir came under attack while covering a students’ protest outside HEC


Zubair Qureshi

Senior photojournalist Sultan Bashir got injured while covering a students’ protest demonstration outside the Higher Education Commission (HEC) headquarters in Sector H-9.

While talking to Pakistan Observer, Sultan Bashir who has also worked for the newspaper for almost a decade, recalled it was a usual working day, the first day of the month and he was looking forward to filing something exclusive.

Meanwhile, a message started circulating in various media groups that some students of the secondary and the higher secondary grades were gathering outside the HEC to protest against holding in-person examinations for classes 9 to 12 which are scheduled to begin later this month.

Bashir reached the venue and took out his camera from the bag to take pictures.
“In the beginning it was a small protest and the students were standing with placards peacefully on the green belt in front of the HEC office, but as their number started building up, they grew violent and exchanged harsh words with police and started pelting stones at them, said Sultan Bashir.

Under such circumstances, we photographers take cover behind the police and so I decided to do so, he said.

However, as he was withdrawing from the protesting students to get shelter, a stone from nowhere hit him under the right ear.

Sultan said some anchors and cameramen of different TV channels standing nearby spotted blood dripping from his ear and rushed him to the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) where he was given first aid.

The National Press Club of Islamabad (NPC), journalists and photojournalists community, civil society and rights organizations have condemned the incident and called upon the government to devise a mechanism for safety of journalists/cameramen during such protests.

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