Journalists on Saturday blocked Sher Shah Suri Road to protest against the attack on reporters at the Khyber Teaching Hospital (KTH) a day earlier. They demanded a judicial inquiry into the incident.
Led by Peshawar Press Club (PPC) President Nasir Hussain and General Secretary Yousaf Ali, protesters wore black armbands and shouted slogans against the KTH administration and provincial government.
Addressing the protesters, Ali asked to reject the three-member investigation committee comprising KTH doctors formed by Health Minister Shaukat Yousafazi and said constituting an inquiry team of the same people who tortured the reporter was a ‘cruel joke’.
Ali also said coverage to the Provincial Doctors Association (PDA) and Young Doctors Association (YDA) would be denied and banned their entry in the Peshawar Press Club (PPC). He said the entry of Yousafzai in the PPC building had also been banned. However, Ali added the health minister would continue receiving coverage.
Calling it an attack on the freedom of the press, PPC President Hussain said they will protest for three days and will then move their demonstration outside the chief minister’s house. “After the attack, no official even bothered to contact us,” he lamented.
He questioned how the same people who tortured media personnel could be appointed judges, while journalists were not even consulted and demanded an independent judicial committee which should have neither a journalist nor a doctor.
While covering Head Constable Shahzad Gul’s demise on Friday, a Dunya TV reporter was allegedly assaulted and kept hostage for over seven hours by the medics. Moreover, medics also locked the doors of the hospital and barred journalists from entering. The KTH administration later issued a statement accusing media personnel of taking pictures of patients and hindering work.
When the health minister failed to show up to resolve the issue, the channel’s employees, members of the Peshawar Press Club (PPC) and Khyber Union of Journalists (KhUJ), protested against the hospital administration and minister.
Constable Gul was shot while he was on duty outside the Assembly of God Church. Residents took him to the KTH, where he succumbed to his injuries.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 7th, 2013.
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