Broadcast journalist Asad Kharal was beaten by masked men in Lahore on Tuesday, police said.

SP Bilal Zaffar Cantonment Division confirmed the attack on Bol TV anchor Kharal, whose car was intercepted by masked men who physically assaulted him.

Kharal was then taken to Services Hospital to be treated for his injuries.

Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar on Wednesday took suo motu notice of the incident, asking the inspector general (IG) Punjab to submit a report on the incident within 24 hours.

Earlier, journalists from various media outlets all over Pakistan condemned the attack on Kharal. Hamid Mir, a senior journalist, tweeted:

"You can differ with the views of a journalist and you can even criticise him, but no one has the right to attack any journalist or peaceful citizen. This attack on Asad Kharal is condemnable. The injuries on the body of Kharal are reflecting the injuries of media freedom in Pakistan."

Journalist and news anchor Nasim Zehra was also vocal against the attack and tweeted:

"What the hell is happening? Just saw this pretty bloody attack on Asad Kharal. Totally condemnable. Catch attackers and kidnappers fast."

Pakistani journalist Wasim Abbas also took to Twitter to condemn the attack and said:

"Stay safe Asad Kharal. Attack on any journalist is condemned. #FreedomOfSpeech."

In April, a Reporters Without Borders report said the Pakistani media was regarded as among the most vibrant in Asia but due to pressure being exerted by extremist groups and intelligence agencies it was increasingly resorting to self-censorship.

In a separate incident, police confirmed that journalist and activist Gul Bukhari was abducted by unknown persons in Lahore on Tuesday night. Early on Wednesday, her family confirmed she was home and “fine”.

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