Friday, March 17, 2023

Pakistani Journalist: In the most recent attack on press freedom in Pakistan

Attack on journalist Asad Ali Toor has been called the attack on freedom of the press

On Tuesday late night, three armed men broke into Pakistani journalist, Asad Ali Toor’s apartment in F-10 sector Islamabad. They attacked him and questioned about his sources of funding.

Journalist Asad Ali Toor

Asad Ali Toor is a journalist and a producer on Aaj News. He has his own YouTube channel “Asad Toor Uncensored” where he discusses issues that are not covered by the mainstream media. Toor is also known for his criticism on military and other institutions.

According to Toor’s statement given to police officials, he was attacked on Tuesday night around 11 p.m at his apartment. He was dragged to his bedroom where he was bound, gagged, and beaten by the three armed men who had their faces covered. He said that the attackers kept on hitting him on his elbows with a pistol. He also said the attackers belonged to Inter-Services Intelligence as they themselves revealed that during the assault and questioned him on the sources of his income and funding.

After the attackers left him he was moved to a nearby hospital. He was bleeding and limping. The footage of three masked men leaving Toor’s apartment has also been recovered. Zia Bajwa, police spokesperson has confirmed the attack and started an investigation.

Image Courtesy Tribune

Many Pakistani journalists and government officials have shown their concern about the attack and called it an attack on press freedom. On Wednesday people protested against the attack on Toor.

Fawad Chaudhry, Information and Broadcasting Minister of Pakistan urged concerned authorities to investigate properly.

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) called it an attack on freedom of expression and free press. The NGO demanded immediate actions against the attackers.

Amber Rahim Shamsi, a senior Pakistani journalist also condemned the attack on Asad Ali Toor and said: “you are not safe if you dare to challenge the powerful.”

 Bilal Farooqi tweeted that Asad Ali Toor was receiving threats through calls from unknown numbers.

In past, a case was registered against the Pakistani journalist, Asad Ali Toor to spread negative propaganda against Pakistan. He was booked under sections 505, 500, and 499 of Pakistan Penal Code. He was also booked for sections 37, 11, and 20 of Pakistan Electronic Crimes Act 2016. However, due to lack of evidence, he was released from the charges by the Lahore High Court.

Image Courtesy AlJazera

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