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Four journalists temporarily abducted, assaulted during armed attack on press club

(PPF/IFEX) - On 14 September 2008, a group of about 50 armed men attacked the Shahpur Jehanian Press Club, of Tehsil Daulatpur, in Nawabshah District of Pakistan's southern province of Sindh. The attackers beat and abducted four journalists and took physical control of the press club.

Among those assaulted were: Manthar Dahiri, correspondent of the daily newspaper "Sobh" and president of the press club; Abdul Aziz Channa, correspondent of the daily "Koshish" and general secretary of the press club; Zahid Bughio, correspondent of the daily "Sindh"; and Haji Mohammed Haroon, correspondent of the daily "Mehran".

The armed men broke into the press club, where the journalists were sleeping, at around 4:00 a.m. (local time). They attacked the journalists and tied them up with ropes before abducting them.

The next morning police found Dahiri and Haroon in the backyard of a private home, while Channa was found unconscious on a highway eight kilometres from the city. Bughio was found bruised and battered on 15 September on the outskirts of Daulatpur.

Local journalists said that the armed men work for an influential landlord of the area, Maqsood Ali Shah.

The journalists staged a demonstration to protest the assault and alleged that the police were supporting the attackers, who still retain physical control of the press club premises. The journalists demanded that the authorities immediately arrest the culprits and return possession of the press club to the journalists.

Local journalists told PPF that they have received threatening messages on their cell phones from the attackers.

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