Civil society, traders’ federation, journalist unions and political parties continue to protest following an attack on four journalists. The resident editor the Akhbar-e-Khyber newspaper, along with three Khyber News staffers, were brutally attacked and injured by unknown persons in the presence of police.
The journalists observed a ‘black day’ to show solidarity with the trio and to protest against the government inaction. They also staged a protest rally while holding placards with slogans against the authorities, calling the brutal actions “state terrorism”.
Swat Press Club Chairperson Shahabuddin condemned the unwarranted attack on the journalists, “We warn all those involved in this act that this will not stop us from exposing corrupt politicians and anti-state actors. We will not be silent until the guilty are exposed and strict action is taken against them.”
Swat Qomi Jirga Spokesman Ziauddin Yousafzai told The Express Tribune that, “Without a doubt, journalism is the fourth pillar of the state, and journalists are the voice of the masses, but unfortunately of late, they have been exposed to extreme torture and killings,” while adding that, “The Swat Qomi Jirga strongly condemns the intolerable action against journalists and demands that the authorities take strict action against the criminals immediately.”
Private School Management Association President Ahmad Shah denounced the vicious attacks and said that all private schools empathise with the journalist community. “It’s strange that when political parties are in the opposition, they claim to be one with journalists, but all such claims regarding freedom of speech are forgotten once they come into power.”
The incident occurred on August 22, when the four men from Peshawar were on their way to cover a story. Bureau Chief Hazrat Khan Momand, , Assistant controller Waqas Khan, Technical In-charge Gul Sher, and Akhbar-e-Khyber Resident Editor Nisar Mohammad Khan were stopped on the way and badly beaten by unknown persons.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 28th, 2011.
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