HYDERABAD: A court has asked the police to explain why it was not registering a complaint by Ismail Barejo, a Kotri-based journalist of a television channel, who was allegedly abducted and beaten by the men of Malik Asad Sikander, an ex-Nazim and MNA, on May 6.
He claims that his only offence was reporting on the lack of health and education facilities and on the abuse of power by influential people, which concern Malik in one way or another.
The court of additional district and sessions judge Khalid Hussain Shahani issued the notices on Thursday for May 11 to the district police and SHO of Thana Bula Khan police station, Qurban Sanjrani. Barejo had filed his petition on May 7 asking for the FIR to be registered against Malik and his men.
He told The Express Tribune that he was contacted by SSP Jamshoro Waqar Malan who informed him that he would be booked in a kidnapping case if he did not withdraw and agree to a compromise. “Malan said he would take responsibility that nothing would happen to me if I accepted the offer.”
Barejo told the SSP that he could not take a decision without the backing of the Hyderabad Press Club. “I asked him to contact them for any offer he has to make.” The SSP could not be reached at his office and residence on Thursday. His cell phone was switched off.
Aziz Palari, another television reporter of Sindh TV, from Thano Bulla Khan taluka of Jamshoro district, was also allegedly kidnapped and beaten by Malik and his men on May 2 and 3. He also tried in vain to register an FIR at the same police station. According to Palari, he has also filed a petition and the district and sessions judge of Jamshoro will hear it on May 14. The beating marks were documented but the journalists await a medical examination which can only be done after an FIR is lodged.
Malik and his assistant did not respond to several calls and text messages made by The Express Tribune.
Malik Asad Sikander is a former nazim and a figure more feared than respected in his dominion. He has been elected to the provincial assembly in a previous government.
The two reporters have been reporting on the health, education, wildlife and social issues of the area which is called Kohistan and consists of villages and towns at the foothills of the Khirthar mountains in Jamshoro district. “Schools are being used as autaqs (guest houses). The teachers are paid but sit at home. There is no lady doctor for the whole region. Foreigners and guests of influential people in the area kill animals like the Ibex and the wildlife department says it is becoming extinct without explaining why,” they said.
Since Thano Bula Khan and Kotri happen to be completely under Malik’s influence, his name is directly or indirectly associated with all these issues. “To defend my impartiality and that I don’t hold any grudge against him, I gave Malik the example of a pregnant wife of a wadera who died on way to Liaquat University Hospital because no facility was available in Thano Bula Khan,” said Palari.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 11th, 2012.