PTI spokesperson Raoof Hasan injured in Islamabad attack

Published May 21, 2024
PTI spokesperson Raoof Hasan injured in an attack in Islamabad on Tuesday. — PTI
PTI spokesperson Raoof Hasan injured in an attack in Islamabad on Tuesday. — PTI

PTI Central Information Secretary Raoof Hasan was injured in an attack in Islamabad on Tuesday.

“Very shameful and reprehensible!!” the party said in a post on X. Video footage shared by the party showed Hasan bleeding from the face with anchor Shahid Masood with him.

“This reprehensible act of violence is an assault on free speech, democracy, and the rule of law.

“Such shameful tactics will not deter Raoof Hasan or the PTI from our cause. Attempts to intimidate or silence us will only strengthen our resolve to fight for a just and equitable society,” the party said, adding that he was attacked outside the office of a private media channel.

A statement from the Islamabad police spokesperson said Hasan was attacked with a blade outside the office of a private TV channel. “Hasan was attacked on the face with a blade by transgenders according to eyewitnesses,” the statement said.

It added that the police were present on the spot and collecting evidence. “Strict action will be taken against the transgenders who have done this,” it said.

Senior Superintendent of Police Hassan Jahangir Wattoo said the footage of the incident was being analysed and further details would be shared in due time with the media.

CCTV footage posted by the PTI seemed to corroborate the police account, showing Hasan being attacked by four individuals who appeared to be from the transgender community.

The party questioned who was the “ringleader” for the assailants.

A message posted on the X account of PTI founder Imran Khan, which is managed by his social media team, said: “The entire nation knows who is orchestrating these attacks on our leadership. It’s the same powers that lurk in the shadows and use proxies to harass & threaten judges and make a mockery of elections by brazenly tampering results.

“Let us make it very clear that PTI will not be deterred by such dirty tactics & violence which only serve to expose the perpetrators before the nation.”

Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Omar Ayub said the attack was “proof that he is being silenced for speaking the truth”, alleging that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif was behind the assault.

He called for the Islamabad police chief to apprehend the culprits immediately or resign from his position.

Leader of the Opposition in the Senate Shibli Faraz raised the incident in today’s Senate session and said he wanted an immediate reaction from Law Minister Azam Nazeer Tarar on the issue because “this incident that happened is very serious that the state of affairs has reached this extent that the spokesperson of Pakistan’s biggest party is physically attacked. This is unacceptable.”

He called on the law minister to give his opinion on the matter and give the relevant orders. PTI Senator Barrister Ali Zafar said the party was staging a walkout.

Tarar said multiple aspects of the case needed to be dealt with as per the law, adding that it was the government’s responsibility to ensure that citizens were dealt with as per law.

He said there would be legal proceedings on any report filed by the aggrieved party. Tarar said he would share information from Interior Minister Mohsin Naqvi and the Islamabad police chief shortly.

Later, Faraz criticised the treasury benches for not even expressing verbal support for Hasan and condemning the incident. He said the incident was “no small matter” and held great symbolic value.

Calling for a complete investigation within 24 hours, Faraz said the party expected the government to give an incident report in Wednesday’s Senate session as well as a briefing from the interior minister on the culprits and their arrests.

PML-N Senator Irfan Siddiqui also strongly condemned the attack on behalf of his party and treasury benches. “You cannot silence someone through such fascist tactics and you only raise the other party’s stature with such incidents,” he added.

PML-N Senator Mushahid Sayed said the attacked deserved “strong condemnation as unacceptable crime!”

Information Minister Attaullah Tarar also condemned the attack while speaking on Geo News programme ‘Capital Talk’, saying that Hasan was a very senior politician who had also worked closely together with the PML-N in the past.

Adding that the incident was unfortunate, the minister stressed the need for an investigation to get to the bottom of the matter.

PTI leader Barrister Gohar Ali Khan said Hasan suffered three cuts on his right cheek and was being stitched up.

“Judging by the injuries, it was an attack on his life,” he said.

PTI leader Hammad Azhar said the attack by “unknown persons was a sign of cowardice and panic”.

He also posted a picture of a blade, allegedly used to attack the PTI spokesperson. “Panic is at its peak,” he said.

“The worst period of fascism continues in Pakistan,” PTI leader Qasim Suri said while addressing the attack.

Former PTI leader and federal minister Fawad Chaudhry said the attack was an “assault on Pakistan’s political values”, adding that all politicians irrespective of party or political affiliation should strongly condemn the incident.

“This is a new low in our polity and society. HRCP demands an immediate inquiry into the incident; the perpetrators must be brought to book,” said the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan.

Journalist Mubashir Zaidi strongly condemned the attack.

“I condemn today’s attack on Raoof Hasan in Islamabad. Really shaken by this news. He’s a kind soul and a longtime friend. Hoping he’ll be okay,” said Michael Kugelman, a scholar of South Asian affairs at the Wilson Centre in Washington.

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