IB officials suspended for torturing journalist Iqrar Ul Hassan

    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.

    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”.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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.

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