Riot zone mob storms PTV

Published September 2, 2014
Islamabad: Troops arrive to clear the PTV building occupied by protesters here on Monday.—AP
Islamabad: Troops arrive to clear the PTV building occupied by protesters here on Monday.—AP

ISLAMABAD: A mob of protesters from the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and Pakistan Awami Tehreek’s (PAT) sit-ins stormed the headquarters of Pakistan Television (PTV) and forced its staff to take two of the state broadcaster’s flagship channels — PTV News and PTV World — off the air, on Monday morning.

According to eyewitnesses, nearly 400 PTI and PAT workers stormed the PTV building, across the road from the main entrance to the Pakistan Secretariat. The attack came soon after demonstrators were repulsed from the secretariat compound.

But the occupying force was dispersed without incident by a contingent of army and Rangers personnel, who arrived on the scene within an hour of the state-TV being taken off-air.

Transmission was restored shortly after noon as the occupying force dispersed peacefully, shouting pro-army slogans and hugging military and paramilitary personnel who arrived at the scene.

This is the first time that PTV’s transmission went blank since October 12, 1999, when former military ruler retired General Pervez Musharraf took power in a bloodless coup after toppling the government of then-Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

Eyewitnesses told Dawn the protesters were carrying PTI and PAT flags and shouting slogans in favour of Imran Khan and Tahirul Qadri. PTV Senior Controller Asmatullah Niazi blamed the district administration for what he called their failure to protect the state broadcaster.

PTV employees had been facing a hard time, as their office was located right on the edge of the red zone and was at the centre of the anti-government protests, which have raged on in the capital for over two weeks now.

“Despite the army’s deployment in aid of civil authorities, how could the administration forget to deploy security around this key national institution,” he said.

Mr Niazi said that PAT workers who stormed the building instructed staff manning the channel’s transmission to stop broadcasting “useless content” and asked them to broadcast speeches by Dr Tahirul Qadri.

Published in Dawn, September 2nd, 2014

Opinion

Zero carbon race
22 Jan 2021

Zero carbon race

Over 100 countries, including Pakistan, have failed to submit their national commitments to cut emissions.
Sports for all
22 Jan 2021

Sports for all

We need a certain level of fitness to observe God’s law.
Normalcy restored
Updated 22 Jan 2021

Normalcy restored

So long as invoking domestic and foreign ‘enemies’ is our ‘normal’, expect our tryst with praetorianism to continue unabated.
The hazards of governance
Updated 21 Jan 2021

The hazards of governance

The most efficient administrations derive their strength from the quality and regularity of intra-department consultation.

Editorial

Updated 22 Jan 2021

Time to heal

A multitude of foreign issues will test Biden’s mettle and require progressive thinking.
22 Jan 2021

Foreign funding

AS the pressure builds on his party in the foreign funding case, Prime Minister Imran Khan has called for an ...
22 Jan 2021

Decaying PTV

THE Cabinet Committee on State-Owned Enterprises has decided to remove Pakistan Television from the list of...
Updated 21 Jan 2021

Agosta kickbacks trial

A POLITICALLY significant trial opened in Paris yesterday. Former French prime minister Edouard Balladur is in the...
Updated 21 Jan 2021

Indian media scandal

Common sense, factual reporting and ethics are all chucked out the window in the maddening race for ratings, influence and power.
21 Jan 2021

Rising food prices

FOOD inflation continues to challenge the resolve of the government to control the prices of essential kitchen items...