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Today's Paper | July 23, 2024

Updated 22 May, 2024 08:30pm

PTI rejects FIR registered for attack on party spokesperson Raoof Hasan, accuses police of tampering

The PTI on Wednesday rejected the first information report (FIR) registered by Islamabad police for the attack on the party’s central information secretary Raoof Hasan by unknown persons outside the office of a news channel a day earlier.

Following the incident on Tuesday, the capital police said in a statement that Hasan had his face slashed with a blade and cited eyewitnesses to identify a group of transgender persons as the assailants.

A police spokesman said Hasan was attacked as he came out of the TV channel’s office after appearing in a programme. He was taken to the hospital for medical assistance where police also reached to get a medico-legal certificate.

Addressing a press conference in Islamabad on police action in the matter so far, PTI leader Omar Ayub alleged that the police tampered with the FIR, adding that it did not reflect what Hasan had stated in his written complaint.

Ayub said that the party rejected the FIR registered and called for a judicial commission to investigate the incident.

“The statement given by Raoof Hassan mentions with clarity the events that occurred,” he said. “We categorically reject and condemn the subsequent FIR that was lodged by Islamabad Police. It is an attempt to tamper with the case by the police.

“We want to know who pressured Islamabad police to write and register that FIR, which does not mention the word terrorism at all.

“This assassination attempt was clearly an act of terrorism. The FIR has been altered in an attempt to tamper with the investigation of this case.We demand the judiciary to immediately form a judicial commission.”

Ayub mentioned the allegation of meddling in judicial affairs levelled at security agencies by six judges of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) in March to imply that same may have been done with the case of assault on Hasan.

“I’m sure you all know of the letter of six judges to the supreme judicial council, which stated that the judges’ family members were intimidated by security agencies, the ISI,” he said.

“Given the current state of affairs, this matter should be investigated by a judicial commission and swift justice should be delivered to Raoof Hassan.”

Ayub warned that if the PTI leadership was targeted in such a manner again, the party would stage peaceful protests nationwide. “The direct impact of these protests would be targeted at Shehbaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz.”

Meanwhile, Hasan hinted that the attack on him was a part of the state’s crackdown against the PTI and its leadership. “What our party has endured in the past two years is not hidden. The media’s voice along with our party’s has also been muzzled,” he said.

“Ever since Imran Khan was ousted [from the prime minister’s office], the state has used all kinds of force and unleashed cruelty on PTI and its workers — a parallel of which cannot be found in South Asian region.”

Hasan said that despite the party’s demands to bring the perpetrators of May 9 to justice through a proper investigation, no judicial commission was formed.

Without naming anyone, he accused a figure of authority of acting as a dictator. “This one person lurks in the shadows and hides behind screens undermines the people’s wishes and only does as he pleases, believing that what he says is the only reality.”

“Behind the smokescreen of democracy, there is a dictatorship in this state. For the past two years, they have pushed the public to accept this dictatorship.”

Saying that what happened to him was a “very small incident”, Hasan lashed out and asked who was responsible for the crackdown on PTI workers and leaders, what legal justification was there for it and who was the person behind it.

Hasan said the attack on him was part of a “proper orchestrated plan”, saying that he had previously encountered the transgender assailants on Monday as well.

“They were well-trained bodies with taut muscles so they were not transgenders. The transgender community has also disowned them,” he said, adding that they were continuously threatening him that they would kill him.

Addressing the powerful quarters of the country, Hasan said: “You have failed and earned disrepute. Look what the people are saying about you on social media. Introspect and see what mistakes you are making and finish them instead of perpetuating them. Accept the people’s mandate and give form to a democratic government.”

Meanwhile, a statement from the Islamabad police spokesperson said the force was conducting the investigation in a professional manner, adding that the FIR was registered as per Hasan’s signed application.

It said that a special investigation team was formed under the leadership of the senior superintendent of police (investigation). “Islamabad police will take the case to its logical conclusion on merit,” the statement said.

FIR

The FIR of the incident was registered a day ago on Hasan’s complaint at the Aabpara police station under Sections 34 (common intention), 109 (abetment) and 324 (attempted murder) of the Pakistan Penal Code.

The FIR said Hasan was outside the office of news channel GNN in Islamabad’s G7 sector around 5:30pm and going towards his parked car when four individuals, appearing as transgenders, stopped him “as per a proper plan and attacked” him with a blade with repeated slashes to his neck in a life-threatening and deadly attack.

Hasan said he stepped back to protect himself but was injured on his face with the blade, suffering a deep cut and bleeding. He said the assailants all the while kept threatening to kill him and fled after some people gathered at the scene.

Hasan said he had no personal enmity with them, adding that a similar incident had occurred two days back when he was jumped by a similar group of three to four seemingly transgender persons but was saved by the people present.

The PTI spokesperson said that legal action be initiated against the suspects and security for his life should be provided.

Law minister shares incident report in Senate

Separately, Law Minister Azam Nazeer Tarar shared details with the Senate regarding the incident and said that an FIR was registered with efforts under way to apprehend the culprits.

He said the government was serious about addressing the issue, adding that a special team was constituted to investigate the incident and arrest those responsible.

He informed the Senate that footage and pictures of the incident were sent to the forensic lab and Nadra for examination to help trace out the culprits.

Expressing sorrow over the incident, Tarar said that such occurrences should not happen.

“The seriousness of the government on the incident should not be questioned,” he added. He said that it was the government’s responsibility to protect the lives and properties of the citizens.

‘Enough is enough’

A message posted on PTI founder Imran Khan’s X account, that is managed by his social media team, said: “Enough is enough now!”

It said the “heinous attack” on Hasan was “very instigating and further demonstrates that the powerful are unwilling to accept dissent, preferring to resort to cowardly tactics rather than addressing the underlying problems”.

The message addressed to the nation further said: “We must now be ready to practically struggle against this fascist mafia. I instruct all of you — my central party leadership, central, provincial and local party organisation, members, workers, supporters and the common man to wait for my street agitation call.”

Rana Sanaullah calls for talks

Adviser to the Prime Minister on Political and Public Affairs Rana Sanaullah strongly condemned the incident and termed it unfortunate while speaking on Geo News programme ‘Capital Talk’.

He said the element of transgender involvement was “beyond understanding” since it was a peaceful community which was the one being usually subjected to violence.

“If the state [of tensions] has reached this extent of involving transgender persons then I think they (PTI) should have a truce and settle affairs by sitting [and talking it out with the establishment],” he said.

Sanaullah said eventually political forces had to resolve the current situation in the country. “Politics will further decline if this fight is fought somewhere else as is currently happening,” he pointed out.

He said matters could only proceed forward if political solutions were found to political issues.

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