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Political party supporters ransack media group building

(PPF/IFEX) - On 23 May 2010, supporters of the Sindh National Party (SNP), a provincial political party, attacked the offices of Jang Group, Pakistan's leading media group. They broke through security barriers, snatched weapons from security guards and fired shots in the air. Some protesters entered the ground floor of the building after breaking the matting and furniture in the reception area. The protesters accused the group's newspapers and TV channels of maligning the culture of Sindh province.

According to press reports, hundreds of SNP activists, led by the party's Chairman, Ameer Bhambhro, gathered outside the main Jang Group building in Karachi chanting slogans against the media group and its anchor persons, accusing them of bias against Sindhi culture.

Security guards of the Jang Group closed the entrance leading to the upper floors and the police tried to disperse the protesters by baton charging, firing teargas shells and firing shots in the air. The demonstrators retaliated, injuring some police officers in the process. The police briefly detained 85 protesters who rejoined the demonstration soon after their release.

Bhambhro, who was leading the demonstration, said that their protest would continue until the media group issued an apology to the people of Sindh for neglecting and ridiculing the culture of the province. The activists demanded the expulsion of leading anchor persons Hamid Mir Kamran Khan and Dr Shahid Masood.

The protesters ended the siege of Geo and Jang offices around midnight after negotiations with the Sindh chief minister's advisers, Rashid Hussain Rabbani and Waqar Mehdi.

Shamsul Islam Naz, Secretary General of the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ), strongly condemned the violent demonstration against Jang group by the SNP activists.

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