LAHORE: The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) government has lifted the ban on the Tehreek Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) and released hundreds of its workers accused of violence, sabotage and killings, but media persons beaten and roughed-up while covering these protests still await justice almost two weeks after.
“Two of my colleagues and myself were held-up by Punjab Rangers for around two-and-a-half hours on October 30th in Wazirabad’s Lal Puli neighbourhood,” said Bol News cameraman Imran Mukhtar. “Our only crime was that we were making footage of the rangers’ crackdown on TLP workers,” he said.
The Bol News DSNG was parked near a security picket in Wazirabad when at around 10.30 am dozens of TLP workers appeared on the scene chanting slogans, which led to a baton-charge on protesters by the rangers. Some of these protesters were also arrested.
Bol News cameraman Imran Mukhtar started filming the event, but was stopped by the rangers’ personnel. Then the rangers ordered that the DSNG be moved away from the scene, but as the vehicle was stuck amidst protesters, it was impossible to follow these directives at once, said Imran Mukhtar.
Meanwhile, the rangers’ personnel snatched Mukhtar’s camera, detaining him along with two other colleagues — driver Asif Khan and DSNG Engineer Ejaz Gull. While roughing the Bol News team members, the rangers’ also took out the camera card, which has not been returned to-date, he said.
Bol News crew was released from the detention only after the management contacted senior security officials of the Punjab Rangers and the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR).
However, despite repeated efforts, the camera card has not yet been returned to the Bol News, nor there had been any response by the Punjab Rangers and the ISPR to the Bol News questions that under which law the media persons were manhandled and detained, and was it done on the orders of the high-up.
While the TLP workers accused – rightly or wrongly — of serious charges, including damaging public and private property, and killing and beating the policemen have been released, the media persons doing their jobs still wait for answers and justice.