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Civil society activists, journalists condemn attack on Hamid Mir

AFP


ISLAMABAD: The journalist community protested outside the National Press Club on Sunday against the attack on Hamid Mir in Karachi. The protesters, who gathered outside the NPC, were led by the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) President Afzal Butt and General Secretary Kurshid Abbasi. The protesters were holding banners demanding protection to the media personnel and the arrest of the attackers.Addressing the protesting journalists, the PFUJ president condemned the attack on the journalist, and described it an attempt to gag the journalists. Butt said that it was not the first incident as over 100 journalists had lost their lives across the country. “The attackers, whoever they may be, cannot suppress our voice through such mean tactics because the journalists are ready to render sacrifices for fulfilling their professional duties at all costs without succumbing to any pressure,” he said.The PFUJ called for the protest, in which members several media organisations including a few foreign correspondents participated. PFUJ expressed deep sorrow over the attack on Hamid Mir. They prayed for the speedy recovery of the anchorperson and extended sympathy to his family. They said that it was primarily the responsibility of the state to protect journalists and to find, identify and arrest the perpetrators.On April 19, Hamid Mir was shot and wounded in Karachi. The presenter for a private TV channel took six bullets but is in a stable condition, the sources said. Meanwhile, the members of civil society also condemned the attack and demanded impartial probe into the matter. In a joint statement, the human rights defenders, peace activists, civil society organisations and networks together strongly condemned the attack.“We stand strongly in solidarity with him, his family and colleagues, and we join the national and international media and human rights community in wishing him a complete and speedy recovery,” a statement issued by the Aurat Foundation Pakistan said. The civil society activists termed attacks on journalists as attacks on Article 19 of the constitution; and on the fundamental freedom of speech and expression, against which the brave journalists have struggled under both military and civilian dispensations, since the independence, including Hamid Mir’s father.The journalist community of Islamabad, members of RIUJ and PFUJ, civil society activists, human rights defenders and the members of the Aurat Foundation demanded that the federal and the Sindh government should cooperate to immediately initiate an independent judicial inquiry.They said that the ISI should initiate its own inquiry to identify the perpetrators, in order to arrest, try and convict them, and the electronic media group owners and managers should urgently band together to put in place the protection and security measures which are longstanding but unmet demands of their frontline workers. It is to be noted here that an anchorperson, Raza Rumi was also attacked in Lahore, during which his driver was killed.

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