Iqrar Ul Hassan host of famous program Sar-e-Aam on Tuesday accused officials of the Intelligence Bureau (IB) of assault and torture after he attempted to expose alleged corruption within their ranks.
Iqrar and his team were detaining for hours at IB Karachi office. His ordeal came to light when pictures of him bloodied up, in torn-up clothes and receiving medical treatment on a hospital bed emerged on Twitter.
Later, his fellow TV journalist Waseem Badami shared a video of him visiting Hassan at the hospital, by which time the injured journalist had been bandaged up, while his left arm was bound in a sling.
— Waseem Badami (@WaseemBadami) February 15, 2022
Speaking to the channel he works for, Hassan said that he and his team members were “stripped naked, blindfolded and tortured for exposing the corruption of an IB inspector”. He alleged that IB officials also shot videos of him after stripping him and his team members naked.
He said a few members of his team were even given electric shocks to “sensitive” body parts. “I want to bring [to light] the video we shot at the IB office, but I learnt that it has been discarded by the agency officials”.
— Waseem Badami (@WaseemBadami) February 14, 2022
According to the notification issued by IB Sindh Provincial Headquarters, the five officials involved have been suspended under rule 5 (1) and (2) of Government Servants (Efficiency & Disciplinary) Rules for mistreatment of the journalist and his team.
The incident sparked mass outrage and is among the top trends on social media. Political leaders as well as the public have condemned the violence and called for the immediate arrest of those who attacked the Sar e Aam team.
Politician Abdul Aleem Khan tweeted condemned the attack.
The attack on Iqrar ul Hassan is reprehensible. Any step taken towards the betterment of society and to promote transparency should be encouraged. My prayers for his speedy recovery.
— Abdul Aleem Khan (@aleemkhan_pti) February 15, 2022
Provincial Minister of Sindh for Local Governments, Syed Nasir Hussain Shah condemned the incident on behalf of his ministry.
“Anchor Iqarul Hassan was tortured in the office of a federal agency in Karachi today. We condemn it,” the Minister tweeted.
اینکر اقرار الحسن پر آج کراچی میں واقع ایک وفاقی ادارے کے دفتر میں تشدد کیا گیا ۔ ہم اس کی مذمت کرتے ہیں۔ اے آر وائ کے مطابق ایک وفاقی ادارے کے ہانچ افسران کو معطل کردیا گیا ہے اس واقعے کے بعد۔
— Syed Nasir Hussain Shah (@SyedNasirHShah) February 14, 2022
PTI MNA Aamir Liaquat Husain urged PM Imran Khan to take notice of the incident.
“I am deeply saddened and angry. The worst treatment and immoral behaviour with @iqrarulhassan is not bearable but reprehensible and shameful. I am requesting to my Prime Minister @ImranKhanPTI to take notice of the incident and determine those responsible,” he stated in tweet.
I am deeply saddened and angry. The worst treatment and immoral behaviour with @iqrarulhassan is not bearable but reprehensible and shameful. I am requesting to my Prime Minister @ImranKhanPTI to take notice of the incident and determine those responsible pic.twitter.com/cAcqg9W0ab
— Aamir Liaquat Husain (@AamirLiaquat) February 14, 2022
Senior journalist Hamid Mir said in this regard that the Intelligence Bureau is reminiscent of the time when such treatment was given out to journalists and political activists in Lahore and Islamabad.
انٹیلی جینس بیورو نے اس دور کی یاد تازہ کر دی جب ایسا سلوک صحافیوں اور سیاسی کارکنوں کے ساتھ لاہور اور اسلام آباد میں ہوا کرتا تھا پاکستان آج بھی وہیں کھڑا ہے جہاں 30 سال پہلے کھڑا تھا اقرار الحسن پر تشدد انتہائی قابل مذمت ہے یہ دور پچھلے ادوار سے زیادہ بدتر زیادہ شرمناک ہے ✊✌️ https://t.co/wXJz66HUMZ
— Hamid Mir (@HamidMirPAK) February 15, 2022
Pakistan is among five countries in the world most dangerous for journalists. In 2021, as many as 63 journalists were killed in the line of duty in the country. From 1990 to 2020, about 2,658 journalists have been murdered in the country.