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Television news team attacked while covering questionable practices at factory

(PPF/IFEX) - A news team from the Express News TV channel was fired upon by unidentified men in the Orangi area of Karachi on October 6, 2010. The journalists were filming a segment for their weekly programme "Consumer Crime" about a factory that produces fake cold drinks. The news team included Huma Bukhari, the programme host, associate producer Rehan Hussain and camera operators S.N. Changaizi and Kamran Zai.

Hussain told Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF) that the media team, accompanied by representatives from the provincial government's Food Department, was filming the production of the drinks when suddenly they heard the sound of gunshots outside the factory. The media team saw eight armed persons engaged in firing on the factory and vehicles parked outside. The Food Department personnel fled while the media team took cover in a room.

Hussain said the attackers grabbed an inspector from the Food Department, Nadeem Bhatti, as he came out but he was able to escape. After that, armed men entered the factory and started firing at the walls and at glass bottles indiscriminately. One of the men hit Hussain's foot with the butt of his Kalashnikov rifle and grabbed him by the neck. They demanded valuables and snatched a mobile phone belonging to Bukhari and Hussain's wallet. Changaizi refused to hand over the camera but the assailants took out the video tape before letting the media team go.

While the news team was leaving in the Express News van, the armed individuals followed them on motorcycles and again opened fire on them; two bullets hit the van's back seat but no one was hurt.

Hussain said he suspected the attack was carried out by the factory owners, who successfully forced the media team and food department officials to leave without collecting evidence.

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