The Secretariat police on Friday booked Nawabzada Shahzain Bugti, grandson of the late Nawab Akbar Bugti, along with five officials of the Punjab police in his security protocol, for thrashing and giving life threats to two journalists at a local hotel on Thursday.
Bugti, also chief of the Balochistan chapter of the Jamhoori Watan Party (JWP), was in Islamabad on Thursday meeting a US embassy political counsellor, Jonathan Prett, at the hotel. The meeting was captured on cell phone cameras by two reporters of a news channel which the young Bugti did not particularly like.
He unleashed his security guards at the journalists, and they were quickly rounded up and thrashed. Bugti’s security guards also seized their cell phones. However, one of them managed to escape from the guards’ custody and informed his colleagues.
A case under sections 379 and 506 of the Pakistan Penal Code was registered against Bugti on the complaint of Shahid Ali Rana, the first of the two reporters who received the beating. However, the police believe the charges against Bugti are minor.
“These are minor charges which include carelessness and imparting threats to someone and normally the suspects get bailed out on the first appearance in the court,” said a police official. He said five of Bugti’s security guards, the officials of Elite Police from Punjab, who were taken into custody by the police, were also booked.
A police official said Bugti’s security guards were all in plain clothes at the time of the incident, however, five of them appeared in the uniform of Punjab Police later when the incident came to the notice of the hotel management and the news organisation. It was not clear how the Punjab police officials got into his personal security protocol and why they were not wearing uniforms initially.
“His (Bugti’s) guards thrashed me multiple times, and he himself threatened me with dire consequences if I would not hand over the cell phone,” said one of the two journalists.
The Secretariat police intervened after the news channel’s management asked them to take action and get the reporters released from the custody of Bugti’s guards at the hotel.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 10th, 2012.