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Journalists manhandled by political party workers at Karachi airport

(PPF/IFEX) - Three journalists were manhandled and injured at Karachi airport by an unruly mob that had come to greet Syed Munawwar Hassan, the newly elected chief of Jamaat-e-Islam (JI), a religious political party, on May 2, 2009.

The injured included Muhammad Muntazim, a cameraman with the Associated Press of Pakistan (APP), Hasnain Mustafa Bilgrami of Dunya TV and Imran Ali Shah, a reporter with the "Daily Jurrat". The journalists were waiting in the media enclosure set up by JI. As Hassan came out of the airport, there was a stampede. The mob entered the media enclosure and manhandled journalists and damaged some cameras. When media personnel protested, they were beaten by JI workers.

Those who sustained injuries were provided first aid at the airport. The three journalists who received injuries - Muntazim, Bilgrami and Shah - were taken to city hospitals. Shah, who received a kidney injury, is still in hospital, while the other two have been released.

The Karachi Union of Journalists (KUJ) condemned the incident and demanded that the JI apologise and take action against those involved.

The information secretary of JI, Karachi, Sarfraz Ahmed, has expressed regret over the incident and said that JI will hold an enquiry and take action against those found guilty. JI's secretary in Karachi, Dr Hafiz Naeemur Rehman, visited the Karachi Press Club and met with KUJ officials and offered his apology over the incident.

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