MIRPURKHAS: A group of unruly men, said to be religious extremists, stormed the press club and ransacked furniture and fixture during a protest in the city on Saturday against alleged desecration of holy names.

The intruders subjected the media people to threats until the police arrived.

Groups of emotionally charged activists of a religious organisation had enforced a shutter-down strike and blocked the Hyderabad-Mirpurkhas Road for several hours on Friday evening in parts of the city.

On Saturday, the city’s business community kept their businesses closed against what they described as harassment of citizens.

The district administration and senior police officials held talks with local leaders of the religious organisation and told them to control their followers.

Office-bearers and members of the press club along with civil society activists took out a rally to register their protest over the attack on the club and harassment of the general public as well as failure of the police to arrest any of them during the violence.

Meanwhile, a faction of the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) led by Afzal Butt condemned the attack on the Mirpurkhas Press Club and urged the Sindh government to ensure arrest of the culprits.

Mr Butt and PFUJ secretary general Ayub Jan Sarhandi observed that such attacks were on the rise in Sindh. They vowed to safeguard the freedom of expression and not to allow any group or individual to curtail it. They warned that if the culprits were not arrested, a countrywide protest call would be given.

Published in Dawn, March 4th, 2018

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