Press Statement

Pakistan: Journalist attacked in office in Islamabad

09 Apr, 2024

Senior journalist and Rawalpindi Islamabad Union of Journalists (RIUJ) Secretary General Dr Furqan Rao was attacked in his office by a group of people following recent union elections at the Associated Press of Pakistan. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and its affiliate, the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ), condemn the attack, and urge authorities to ensure the safety of journalists.

Rao, the head of the Associated Press of Pakistan (APP)’s China desk, was attacked at approximately 11:00pm on March 29, allegedly by Rana Imran Latif and his colleagues, who forcibly entered the agency’s Islamabad offices. The group proceeded to Dr Rao’s offices, before attempting to assault him. The assailants were met with opposition from APP staff, who defended the senior journalist from the attackers.

A First Information Report has been registered at the Aabparah Police Station in Islamabad on March 29 under rioting, unlawful assembly, destruction of property, and criminal intimidation sections of the Pakistan Penal Code. Authorities have reportedly begun an investigation into the incident, with a Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Ataullah Tarar launching an inquiry committee to investigate the incident, and potentially inform a potential case against the outlet’s managing director. Results from the inquiry are expected from April 20.

The attack comes following recent elections of APP collective bargaining agent unions, the results of which were opposed by outlet management. The perpetrators, reportedly external actors not employed at the APP may have been employed by outlet management in an intimidatory attack against Dr Rao, a union activist.

The Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) said: “We demand that Prime Minister Mian Shahbaz Sharif immediately takes action on this serious incident and punish the people involved, otherwise the PFUJ will be forced to protest against it across the country and hold a march towards Islamabad with hundreds of working journalists. The PFUJ will not tolerate abuse on working journalists at all.”

The IFJ said: “Union elections are an opportunity for workers to have their voice heard in the workplace. If reports that management have engaged persons to carry out an attack against workers are true, then this is a flagrant abuse of labour rights, and must be investigated by authorities.”

Written By

IFJ Asia-Pacific IFJ Asia-Pacific

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