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Journalists assaulted while covering protest by student group

(PPF/IFEX) - Three journalists were injured when they were assaulted by workers of the Islami Jamiat Talaba (IJT), the student wing of Jamat-e-Islami (JI), a religious political party. The journalists were assaulted while covering an IJT protest rally on 8 June 2009 in Islamabad, the capital city of Pakistan. The injured included Syed Mehdi, photojournalist for the daily "The Nation", Muhammad Asim, photojournalist for "Daily Jinnah", and Aqeel Qasim Shah, cameraman for Metro one TV station.

The journalists were taking photographs of the IJT activists burning tires on the road to disrupt the flow of traffic. IJT activists told them to stop taking photographs. Later, the mob of IJT students assaulted the journalists and broke their cameras. Mehdi was beaten by individuals carrying batons and suffered injuries to his face, shoulder and arm. He received first aid treatment at the local hospital and was later discharged. Asim also suffered minor injuries to his face and shoulder.

Adeel Bukhari, Islamabad Bureau chief of Metro one TV, told PPF that IJT workers also broke Shah's camera. Shah sustained minor injuries to his shoulder. According to Asim, the police played a vital role in protecting the journalists and controlling the situation. They resorted to a light baton charge to disperse the assailants. The police also arrested four assailants.

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