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Senior minister harasses, threatens TV team

(PPF/IFEX) - On 6 July 2011, a team of reporters with the news station Geo TV was harassed by the Provincial Minister for Works and Services, Zulfikar Mirza, along with his guards and companions, while the team was on assignment to cover Interior Minister Rehman Malik's engagements in Karachi, the capital city of Pakistan's Sindh province. The Geo TV team included reporter Shoaib Burney and cameraman Zubairuddin.

Burney told PPF that he and his companion were covering the minister's convoy, comprising over a dozen vehicles and an army of both uniformed and plainclothes guards, when guards snatched their camera, microphone, bulletproof jackets and helmets at gunpoint. The minister used abusive and vulgar language against the reporters, who included senior anchors, and snatched Burney's and Zubairuddin's press identity cards from around their necks.

Burney also told PPF that Mirza threatened to kill him and ordered the police to bundle them into a police van. The police later let both journalists go.

According to press reports, the police did not submit a report against Mirza or his guards or companions for harassing the media team.

The Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) and other journalists have expressed their indignation over the minister's actions and demanded an appropriate response from the government against this abuse of power.

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