HARIPUR: A local journalist formally requested the district police officer here on Thursday for ordering the registration of a criminal case against officials of the Halal Food Authority for allegedly attempting to beat him up.

He also accused those officials of stopping him from gathering information for a news report.

The DPO marked the complaint to the SHO of the City Police Station with instructions for necessary action under the law.

Arshad Mehmood, a correspondent for a local newspaper, lodged a complaint with the DPO insisting that on the way to the main bazaar on Dec 18, he saw the HFA officials collect Rs5,000 “fine” from vendors selling food items in cabins near Sidiq-i-Akbar Chowk.

He added that the officials didn’t issue receipts of the fine collected.

The complainant said he asked officials about the offence committed by vendors and the reason for not issuing fine receipts, so they claimed their act was lawful.

He added that when he pressed for details, food officials Ahsan Iqbal, Anjum, Salman Ahmad, Nabeel Usman and others attempted to assault him physically, while one of them pointed a pistol at him.

He also filed a complaintwith the HFA director-general on the matter and demanded action against officials.

When contacted, the SHO said the police were investigating the matter as a legal requirement before the registration of a criminal case against officials.

Meanwhile, the police booked the correspondent on the complaint of HFA assistant director Ruqaya Nawaz Khan under sections 186,506 and 353 of the PPC for allegedly interrupting the drive against the violators of Halal food laws, following and harassing officials, hurling threats at them, and provoking people against them. The journalist obtained pre-arrest bail from a local court.

Published in Dawn, December 22nd, 2023

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