LAHORE: The Punjab government on Monday formed a committee to probe the death of a woman journalist during an accident near Sadhoke two days ago while covering the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s long march.
Sadaf Naeem was run over by the container of PTI Chairman Imran Khan after she reportedly fell off the vehicle trying to ride the container to conduct an interview with the former prime minister for Channel 5. She was laid to rest at a local graveyard on Sunday night.
On Monday morning, the Standing Committee of Cabinet on Law and Order held a meeting at the Civil Secretariat. Punjab Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, Environment Protection and Cooperatives Basharat Raja presided over the meeting from Rawalpindi via video link.
Punjab Chief Secretary Abdullah Khan Sumbal, Inspector General Police (IGP) Faisal Shahkar and other respective officials also attended the meeting.
The Punjab government has decided to form a fact-finding committee to ascertain the reasons for the incident. The committee will include officials from the concerned departments and it will submit its report soon.
The cabinet committee also expressed grief over the death of the reporter and the participants offered Fateha for the departed soul.
Chairman Committee Mr Raja directed that prevention of such incidents should be ensured in future.
He said Imran Khan also paid a visit to the house of Sadaf Naeem and extended his condolences to the bereaved family. “A special relief package has already been announced by the Punjab government,” he said.
Mr Sumbal said he was deeply saddened by the Sadaf Naeem incident and “the Punjab government is in contact with the bereaved family.” The meeting also reviewed security for the ongoing march.
Earlier, Imran Khan visited the journalist’s residence to extend grievances to the family.
He expressed his condolences to the mother and children of Sadaf Naeem and left for Kamoke to join the long march.
The PTI leaders, including Dr Yasmin Rashid, Omar Ayub Khan and Asad Umar, also visited Sadaf Naeem’s family.
Meanwhile, Punjab Chief Minister Parvez Elahi met the daughter and son of the deceased journalist.
The CM presented a cheque of R5 million to the deceased’s daughter Nimra Naeem as financial assistance. He also announced government jobs for her daughter Nimra Naeem and husband as a photographer.
Meanwhile, federal ministers ‘doubted’ the statement of the husband of the reporter wherein he decided not to pursue any kind of legal action.
Her husband submitted a statement to the Kamoke Saddar police station stating “When the long march started to move gradually, my wife -- who was standing on the divider -- fell and was trapped beneath the container and died on the spot.”
“This was an accident,” he said and added he did not want to take any legal action nor “do I want to get a postmortem examination conducted.”
He requested that “the body be handed over to us immediately so that the burial could be done timely.”
However, Railways Minister Khwaja Saad Rafique shared a video on Twitter showing that the deceased’s husband was signing his statement.
Rafique alleged that the deceased reporter’s husband was “surrounded” by PTI members to make him sign the statement.
Published in Dawn, November 1st, 2022