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Journalist affiliated with Jang media group assaulted in Punjab, Pakistan

Zafar Aheer, Resident Editor of the Daily Jang, was attacked by unknown armed men while returning home from work on May 31, 2014 in the city of Multan, in Punjab province. He was taken to hospital and is in stable condition.

Aheer told the Pakistan Press Foundation that he was heading home when six masked men, in two motorcycles and a vehicle, intercepted him and started beating him. He was struck with gun butts and received serious injuries to his head, shoulders, legs and other parts of his body. Beside beating him and snatching his mobile phone, the attackers also damaged his car, the editor said.

According to reports, published in The News, which is part of the Jang and Geo media group, Aheer said that the attackers talked of shooting him on the legs and called him a traitor. The press report also states that Aheer called the senior editor and informed him about the possible suspects involved in the attack.

The Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) condemned this latest attack on the free press. They demanded a prompt inquiry of the attack and urged the government to bring the culprits to justice.

The All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS) strongly condemned the continued acts of vandalism, harassment and intimidation unleashed against the Jang and Geo media group. In a press release, APNS noted with concern that the attack on Aheer was a heinous act and was a continuation of the series of acts meted out to browbeat the Jang Group, which have included the looting and burning of vehicles containing bundles of newspapers and the harassment of Jang Group employees in different parts of the country.

The APNS said it considers such acts are aimed at "arm twisting" and curbing press freedom; it is high time for civil society and democratic forces in the country to come forward in order to instill democratic norms and tolerance, and demand that the federal and provincial governments put an end to this trend and bring the culprits to book.

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