32 journalist harassment cases filed in a year, Islamabad police inform Supreme Court

Published November 13, 2021
At the last hearing, the Supreme Court had asked the chief of Islamabad police whether or not the reported attacks on journalists had been investigated and the culprits brought to book. — Photo via SC website/File
At the last hearing, the Supreme Court had asked the chief of Islamabad police whether or not the reported attacks on journalists had been investigated and the culprits brought to book. — Photo via SC website/File

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court was informed on Friday that Islamabad police had, over the last one year, submitted to trial courts the cases of 32 persons suspected of involvement in 16 attempts on the lives of journalists or of assaulting them.

A report on behalf of the deputy inspector general of police operations in Islamabad stated that out of 16 cases registered by police from Sept 13 last year to Sept 12 this year, four were still under investigation.

The report was furnished in compliance with a directive by a three-judge Supreme Court bench after it took up suo motu a complaint of harassment moved by the Press Association of the Supreme Court (PAS) on behalf of a journalist.

At the last hearing on Sept 13, the apex court had asked the chief of Islamabad police whether or not the reported attacks on journalists had been investigated and the culprits brought to book.

The IGP had told the court that some of the cases remained unsolved on account of insufficient evidence. But the court ordered the IGP to furnish a comprehensive report about all reported attacks on journalists over the past one year.

The report explained that the matter was sent to all zonal superintendents of Islamabad police with directives to submit details of cases got registered by the journalist community under the heads of assault, hurt, criminal intimidation and harassment.

The report assured the Supreme Court that strenuous efforts were being made to trace the culprits involved in the four remaining cases and that the investigation would be fair and impartial.

The four cases still under investigation include the complaints registered by Absar Alam, the former chairman of the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra). He received bullet wounds when he was shot on April 20 this year while taking a walk in a family park adjacent to his residence in Islamabad’s Sector F-11/2.

According to police, they investigated 22 persons who were around the place of occurrence, obtained CCTV footage of the crime scene and sent it to Nadra for facial recognition. The suspect’s movements were monitored with the help of Safe City cameras from the family park.

The superintendent of Saddar police has been directed to keep in touch with the complainant and supervise the investigation.

YouTuber

The case of journalist and Youtuber Asad Ali Toor was also mentioned in the report. Mr Toor was injured during a brawl on the night of May 25 after unidentified persons broke into his apartment.

The report explained that police had recorded the statements of 30 individuals living in the same apartment block. In addition, CCTV footage of the crime scene was obtained and sent to Nadra for facial recognition.

The movements of four suspects were monitored through the Safe City cameras stretching from Markaz F-11 to F-10 and the Ninth Avenue.

The police report assured the court that all efforts were being made to trace the cases as early as possible and the Shalimar SHO had been directed to supervise the investigation.

Police have also been investigating a case against Mehmood Khan, who received threatening calls from different sources to stop speaking against television host Sajid Mehmood or face death. The police made all-out efforts to arrest the suspects, but they disappeared and went underground.

Published in Dawn, November 13th, 2021

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