LANDI KOTAL: The correspondent of a private television channel and office assistant of Landi Kotal Press Club remained in the custody of security forces for third consecutive day after their arrest on Friday when a remote controlled explosive device was found fitted to the car of the arrested journalist.

Five other local journalists, one of whom had alerted his colleague and security forces about hanging of a mysterious object to the car, had been released after nearly 12 hours interrogation by the intelligence agencies at Landi Kotal army camp.

Forces took into their custody Khalil Afridi, correspondent of Avt Khyber television channel, Farhad Shinwari, correspondent of an international radio broadcast, and four other local journalists including Mehrab Afridi, Imran Khattak, Umar Khan and Mian Sajid.

Authorities asked to arrest planners of terror bid instead of interrogating victims

Family members of Mian Sajid told reporters that he was shifted to Peshawar under severe mental stress he had suffered during 12 hours of intense interrogation.

The released reporters refused to share with their colleagues the ‘methods of interrogation’ applied to them during their detention.

Mian Sajid had helped in informing Khalil Afridi and security forces about planting of a time device to Mr Afridi’s car in which he was travelling along Farhad Shinwari, Mehrab Afridi, Umar Khan and Imran Khattak while covering the vintage car rally on Friday.

Officials at the army camp and political administration refused to share any information with local journalists about the fate and whereabouts of Khalil Afridi and press club office assistant Huasain Ali. The later was taken into custody after the interrogators were informed by Khalil Afridi that he had helped him repairing a punctured tyre of his car.

The representatives of different political parties, civil society organisations and local elders condemned the arrest and torture of local journalists and continued detention of Khalil Afridi and Hussain Ali.

They urged the authorities to provide security to journalists rather than keeping them in detention on the pretext of interrogation. “How come one fit an explosive device to one’s own car and put his and lives of his other colleagues in danger,” they questioned.

They demanded of the concerned officials to arrest the real culprits rather than detaining innocent journalists, who were a target of the explosive device.

Family members of Khalil Afridi and Hussain Ali said that they were suffering from diabetes and kidney disease respectively and their condition had deteriorated during interrogation.

Published in Dawn, November 27th, 2017

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