PTI issues show cause notice to Siyal for 'physical assault' of journalist, suspends party membership

Updated June 26, 2019

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PTI leader Masroor Ali Sial (C) is seen arguing with KPC President Imtiaz Khan Faran. — YouTube screengrab
PTI leader Masroor Ali Sial (C) is seen arguing with KPC President Imtiaz Khan Faran. — YouTube screengrab

Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf on Wednesday issued a show cause notice to Masroor Ali Siyal, a leader of PTI Sindh, for the "physical assault" of a journalist during a media talk show.

A video had gone viral over the weekend of Siyal entering into an argument with Karachi Press Club (KPC) President Imtiaz Khan Faran during the taping of a talk show at a private TV channel.

Sial, who was seated next to Faran, is then seen standing up and shoving the KPC president off his seat and later hitting him. The scuffle is stopped with the intervention of the channel's management.

"Your behaviour has badly damaged the reputation of the party and created an uproar in the journalist community. You are hereby given a show cause notice to explain your position within 14 days of issuance of this letter, as to why action should not be taken against you in line with the Party Constitution," says the notice handed to Siyal.

According to the notice, Siyal's case has been referred to the Standing Committee for Accountability and Discipline for necessary action as he has violated the party discipline.

Siyal's membership to the party has also been suspended with immediate effect till further orders.

Prime Minister's Special Assistant on Political Affairs Naeemul Haque in an early Wednesday tweet condemned the "violent reaction" of Sial, saying "This kind of behaviour is unacceptable in PTI and is totally unworthy of a PTI Leader." He announced that "strict disciplinary action" will be taken against Masroor.

PTI leaders barred from press clubs

Meanwhile, the Karachi and Lahore press clubs have placed a temporary ban on the entry of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) leaders in their premises following the alleged assault, it emerged on Wednesday.

The governing body of the KPC had strongly condemned and expressed concern over the incident at an emergency meeting held at the press club on Tuesday. Members of the body wore black bands in protest against the alleged "violence" carried out by the PTI leader.

"The meeting felt that the series of incidents of organised violence against journalists and journalist bodies on part of the PTI proves that all of this is being done according to a well thought out policy," a KPC press release had said.

The meeting decided to ban the entry of all PTI office-bearers in the KPC for three days. According to the handout, if the ruling party during these three days does not revoke the membership of Sial and fails to apologise to Faran, the KPC will announce a strategy for protest against the PTI in consultation with other journalist bodies.

The KPC governing body urged press clubs across the country to bar the entry of PTI leaders for three days in solidarity with the KPC president. The meeting also temporarily banned the entry in KPC of the host of the talk show during which the incident took place.

Following the KPC meeting, the Lahore Press Club (LPC) via a statement announced that its governing body too was banning the entry of the PTI leadership at its premises for three days on KPC's call. The office-bearers of the ruling party would not be allowed at other press clubs of Punjab as well, the statement added.

The statement quoted the LPC office-bearers as saying that the "direct attacks against journalists by Fayyaz Chohan, Fawad Chaudhry and now Masroor Sial prove that the PTI wants to pen a new history of fascism in the country and it has become a norm to threaten every force that becomes the voice of the people".