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KARACHI: A day after the Nawa-i-Waqt group’s CEO accused Kashmala Tariq, the federal ombudsperson for protection against harassment of women, of illegally detaining and manhandling the Waqt News TV crew, the ombudsperson’s office issued a statement that the reporter asked “inappropriate questions that were not in line with the intent and objective of the message for the particular day”.

According to the statement issued by the ombudsperson’s secretariat, Matiullah Jan was “recording a message” in connection with International Women’s Day. After the recording ended, the reporter and Ms Tariq discussed matters off the record, but the ombudsperson noticed that the camera was still rolling.

Ms Tariq objected to this “unethical behaviour” and “after the situation got tense, she was assured that the footage would be deleted”. However, while the cameraman was showing her the footage, Mr Jan started shouting, asking Ms Tariq to “behave yourself” and “shut up”, according to the press statement.

After watching the footage, Ms Tariq instructed the cameraman to delete it. “Mr Jan told the ombudsperson not to touch the equipment...and lunged towards her. “He not only harassed Ms Tariq but also pushed and injured other members of the staff,” according to the statement.

The ombudsperson’s office said it had prepared a contempt of court order, as well as warrants for arrest, against the Waqt News team.

Published in Dawn, March 10th, 2018