Attack on Waqt News Correspondent – Barred from Covering Violence in Karachi, Pakistan

Posted: August 13, 2011 in News and Views

Imtiaz Chandio, a young a fearless journalist, who has been in this field for last 11 years, was barred from reporting violence, in an area where a political party has strong hold. Imtiaz and his team, who were covering incidents of violence near American Consulate Karachi, on August 13, 2011 amid strike called by Nationalist Parties of Pakistan, were attacked by 5-6 young, heavily armed people. They fired at Imtiaz Chandio while he was trying to cover the incidents of violence. They shot indiscriminately at Imtiaz’s van and fortunately, Imtiaz and his team escaped unhurt and left the area without coverage.

This is not the first time that Mr. Chandio has faced such situation while performing his duty in the business capital of Pakistan. Imtiaz and one of his colleagues were attacked in 2007 when they were covering the post Benazir Bhutto Assassination violence in 2007. Pakistan where violence has become part of its social, political culture, 39 national and international journalists have lost their lives since 2001. The last three victims were Shafi Ullah of The News, Asfandyar Khan of Akhbar-e-Khyber and Syed Saleem Shahzad of Asia Online in the month of May and June 2011. In Pakistan, media one of the strongest sources, which brings human rights violation on surface and expose political violence in the country. Attacks on journalists both by government and non-state actors are messages for not reporting these incidents. Last month, Geo Reporter, was attacked and barred by guards of former Home Minister of Sindh Government and current cabinet minister.

This attack on Imtiaz and other journalist barring from covering violence is a message for all journalist community that they should not cover such incidents. This is attack on freedom of expression and nation’s right to information. We are alarmed by such situation in the country where journalists and lawyers and other human rights defenders, who protects ordinary citizens, are not safe. We call on the Government of Pakistan to take responsibility of protection of journalists in Karachi and other parts of the Pakistan so the nation should know what is happening in the country. RightsNow Pakistan is aggrieved by such attacks by non-state actors on journalist who are making the access of the nation to information possible.

We call on both Sindh and Pakistan Government for taking stern action against those who have attacked on Imtiaz Chandio and barred him from reporting the violence. We also call on all political parties which have strong hold in these areas where journalist are being attacked and barred from reporting, to take action against their political workers, involved in such incidents.  

  1. Sindh says:

    The urdu media in Pakistan is totally biased against Sindhi nationalists. The way it covers strike or protest of MQM, it seems that these are private channels of MQM or so. While for Sindhi nationalists, they just give a damn about it. It’s just a minor news through Sindh is closed from Karachi to Kashmore and Keenjhar to Karoonjhar. Sindh should bycott urdu channels!

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