MOHMAND: The district administration arrested a journalist on charges of intimidating and obstructing a public servant in discharge of his duty in Bezai tehsil here on Saturday.

The Peshawar-based journalist, Hazrat Khan Mohmand, is associated with a Pashto language TV channel.

Mohmand deputy commissioner Ghulam Habib told Dawn that the journalist was arrested after he allegedly attacked the Bezai assistant commissioner at an event. He said he was not personally at the site, and according to a version shared with him the journalist attacked the official.

The Bezai police booked the reporter under sections 419, 506, 341, 186 and 34 of the Pakistan Penal Code for impersonation, criminal intimidation, wrongful restraint and obstructing a government servant from discharging duty.

However, the journalist in video clip said that he along with other reporters had gone to Bezai tehsil to get some documents signed by a tehsildar. “There we were asked to cover an open kutcheri at a basic health unit,” he said, claiming when they started covering the event, assistant commissioner, Bezai, Habibullah Wazir attacked them, and ordered them not to cover the event, which they complied with.

Afterwards, the journalist said they were asked to come to the teshildar’s office, where the assistant commissioner again attacked them.

Mr Khan said the official also snatched mobile phones and identity cards from his colleagues. He said the official also tried to snatch his phone, but he resisted his attempt.

The journalist said the assistant commissioner then asked for his government accreditation card, which he handed over to him. He said the assistant commissioner later got registered an FIR against him.

AC Bezai Habibullah Wazir was approached for comments, but he did not respond to text messages and calls.

Meanwhile, members of the Mohmand Press Club strongly condemned the journalist’s arrest and demanded an impartial investigation into the incident.

They said the arrest was tantamount to an attack on freedom of press.

Published in Dawn, November 14th, 2021

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