The city police raided the office of a leading Urdu newspaper and thrashed its employees on Saturday. The police also took two security guards into custody, while journalists protested against the raid by blocking the Grand Trunk (GT) Road.
The incident took place late in the afternoon, when police personnel arrived in mobile teams and beat up two security guards at the entrance of the newspaper’s office. The police also thrashed newspaper staffers and pointed guns at them.
The incident reportedly took place following reports of gunfire in a nearby locality. According to sources, the police party rushed to the scene and barged into the newspaper office, claiming that the attackers were hiding in the office.
The sources said that the security guards unsuccessfully tried to stop the police personnel and were beaten up and taken into police custody.
They added that the personnel raiding the office belonged to Faqirabad and Hashtnagri police stations.
According to a staff member, three reporters, namely Wasif, Sohrab Khan and Fayyaz were thrashed by the police.
“It happened all of a sudden. The police rushed into the office and began started wreaking havoc,” he added.
The sources also said that the firing incident took place 40 minutes before the raid, and the suspects had already been arrested in the Canal Road area when the raid on the newspaper office took place.
As a result of the misconduct, the journalist held a protest and blocked GT Road for over 30 minutes, creating severe problems for people in the scorching heat.
However, senior police officials reached the spot, and the road was opened for traffic after lengthy negotiations.
Later, Ijaz Ahmed, senior superintendent of police (operations), held a meeting with the newspaper administration and apologised for the behaviour of the police personnel.
He assured strict action would be taken against all involved in the incident, and promised that no such incident would be tolerated in future.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 7th, 2011.
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