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Political party workers attack media houses in Karachi

Activists of Pakistan's Muttahida Qaumi Movement clash with police in Karachi, 22 August 2016
Activists of Pakistan's Muttahida Qaumi Movement clash with police in Karachi, 22 August 2016

AP Photo/Fareed Khan

This statement was originally published on pakistanpressfoundation.org on 23 August 2016.

Three television cameramen covering a protest [in Karachi] by the Muttahada Qaumi Movement (MQM) political party were injured when protesters turned violent on August 22, 2016.

Those injured included Muhammad Safeer of Samaa News, Rehan Ahmed of NEO News and Usman Shareef of 24 channel. Safeer and Ahmed received injuries to their leg and Shareef was hurt in the chest and ribs.

The violence occurred shortly after MQM chief Altaf Hussain in his telephone address from London abused the media for a ban that has been imposed by the High Court on speeches and statements of the MQM leader.

Altaf then directed the party workers to attack the offices of Geo News, Samaa and ARY television channels.

The protesters proceeded to do his bidding and attacked the offices of private television channels ARY News and NEO TV. A Samaa DSNG van was also attacked.

Dozens of protesters ransacked the offices of ARY News, smashing doors, windows and equipment with rods and sticks and setting fire to several vehicles. Members of the security and technical staff were assaulted by the protesters as they tried to stop them from destroying the equipment. Staffers of NEO TV, whose offices are located in the same building as ARY, were also beaten up.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif strongly condemned the attack on the offices of television channels and termed it "an attack on freedom of press and expression".

The Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ), the Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors (CPNE), All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS) and the Pakistan Broadcasters Association (PBA) condemned the attack on the media houses.

The PBA in its statement said, "Media must be allowed to perform its duties as empowered by the constitution of Pakistan."

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