Clerics thrash news crew for ‘drinking water’ in Ramazan

Published: June 21, 2017
Two of the Haqqania Masjid, Islamabad's clerics who beat up the crew of a private TV news channel. PHOTO: Screengrab

Two of the Haqqania Masjid, Islamabad's clerics who beat up the crew of a private TV news channel. PHOTO: Screengrab

ISLAMABAD: Clerics at a mosque in Islamabad thrashed the crew of a private television channel and broke their camera on Tuesday after a member of the team allegedly drank water while he was in the mosque.

Staffers of Din News told The Express Tribune that they had gone to cover an event in Sector F-8 when their cameraman Rashid Azeem went to the Haqqania Masjid to offer Zuhr prayers.

The mosque is built on the green belt along Faisal Avenue near the Faisal Mosque.

Rashid said that he was performing ablution when a cleric at the mosque approached him and asked him why he was drinking water and not fasting. According to Rashid, the two got into a spat. Perturbed by the commotion, Rashid’s co-workers joined him in the mosque.

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The cameraman said that when they took out their cameras to record outside the mosque, its clerics and students became angry and beat up Rashid and smashed the crew’s camera.

One of the clerics snatches a camera from the TV channel’s crew. PHOTO: Screengrab

He then goes on to smash it on the wall. PHOTO: Screengrab

The clerics also allegedly forcibly prevented other reporters who were passing through from recording a video of the scene. The Express Tribune’s reporter was also threatened with violence for recording the altercation.

According to eyewitnesses, the clerics also took photos of all the Din News crew members and threw stones at their van.

The crew had to take refuge in the nearby Margalla police station where they filed a complaint with the police.

Later, two clerics from the mosque approached the police station and told officers that the altercation had occurred after they tried to stop the news crew from drinking water during fasting hours. They also admitted to breaking the camera.

People who smoke, eat openly during Ramazan face 3-month imprisonment

“They were not observing the fast and I tried to stop them,” head cleric Israrullah told Margalla SHO Ilyas Mekin.

Israr said he then left for the market and the crew went to pray, but after that they began recording outside the mosque.

“When my brother stopped them, they manhandled him and started beating him. When I saw this I took their camera and smashed it,”
he added.

The newsmen, however, claim that none of them drank water and even if someone did, the clerics had no right to beat them and break their equipment.

Both sides filed complaints with the police against each other, while cameraman Rashid, who was allegedly beaten, was sent by the police to the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) for a medical examination.

A member of the TV crew thrashed by the clerics. PHOTO: Screengrab

Officials told The Express Tribune that people from both sides could be booked: the clerics for assaulting the media team and the TV crew for violating the Ramazan sanctity law – the Ehteram-e-Ramazan Ordinance, which carries a Rs500 fine and three-month imprisonment.

The police registered an FIR on the TV’s crew’s complaint and booked around eight to 10 unidentified suspects for issuing threats, property damage, and wrongful confinement. However, no arrests had been made till this report was filed.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 21st, 2017.

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Reader Comments (16)

  • Usman Khan
    Jun 21, 2017 - 11:11AM

    You are biased in this story, so I’m not gonna take your words on that… No hard feelings…Recommend

  • Sara
    Jun 21, 2017 - 11:13AM

    When will we thrash these clerics for making up laws and destroying essence of Islam? Fasting is about self control, not controlling others. Recommend

  • Khan muhammad
    Jun 21, 2017 - 11:17AM

    In countries where clerics wield power over the population, there can never be justice. It is important to seperate religion from state. Recommend

  • Feroz
    Jun 21, 2017 - 11:27AM

    Pakistan a lawless paradise where clerics rule.Recommend

  • Umar
    Jun 21, 2017 - 11:30AM

    I saw laborers drinking water while they carried bricks under the baking sun in Barakahu.

    Would you file an FIR against them, too?Recommend

  • High Deccan
    Jun 21, 2017 - 6:53PM

    That idiot Mullah is the one who invalidated his own fast by harming/beating up another Muslim over an incident that requires nothing more than a mere verbal reminder (i.e. “brother you should not be drinking water in front of others”). That Mullah’s or an individual’s responsibility ends right there. That he harmed another Muslim while in a state of fasting is a bigger sin in the sight of Allah SWT.Recommend

  • Usman
    Jun 21, 2017 - 7:09PM

    Very disappointing to see “clerics” behaving this way. There is no compulsion in Islam. The Ehteram-e-Ramzan ordinance is itself unIslamic, because it violates the Qur’an.Recommend

  • Khan
    Jun 21, 2017 - 8:18PM

    The holy month of Ramzan is about patience. The clerics should not have beaten up the crew.
    Although I feel religion is a personal matter but the media people should also avoid drinking in public (especially in a Mosque).

    Purpose of fasting is to observe religion and show patience such aggressive behavior serves no purpose. Recommend

    Jun 21, 2017 - 9:02PM

    Thrashing during fasting is the NEW RELIGION for these JAHIL CLERICS……..Recommend

  • Fiqa
    Jun 21, 2017 - 9:04PM

    When are we going to rise against these mullahs who continuously misinterpret religion. Isn’t it corruption?Recommend

  • Muhammad Saim
    Jun 22, 2017 - 12:43AM

    Mafia wars….media vs. mullahRecommend

  • Mohsin
    Jun 22, 2017 - 3:36AM

    There is too much censorship here. I can see that Express Tribune only posts comments which agree with their liberal views. Let me tell out Pakistan is an Islamic state not a secular state. Nobody should go to a mosque and drink water. If you get punished then you got what was needed. I assure you this news crew will never drink again in Ramadan. Recommend

  • Rambo
    Jun 22, 2017 - 10:07AM

    Drink water as much as you like in your van. NOT IN PUBLIC! Recommend

  • Raghu
    Jun 22, 2017 - 10:08AM

    Why dont you take up the job and intrepret it correctly. Every one here says any thing they like. But easy said than done!Recommend

  • Mamu
    Jun 22, 2017 - 10:09AM

    Express Tribune as usual making cheap publicity and attacking Ulema. How come i never see any positive article on our Ulema for ages? But i get to see news that a couple had sex on an airplane.Recommend

  • Waleed
    Jun 23, 2017 - 5:19AM

    This is not a story to trust upon blindly, the images of the cameraman don’t seem like he’s beaten badly or even beaten, it’s another media’s way of blemishing the clerics. Yes the clerics might be equally at fault but since media is used to scapegoating and blackmailing (nothing new for them)hence I would not buy there story.Recommend

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