14th December 2020
Iqrarul Hassan, host of ARY News Sara-e-Aam, has announced that he has forgiven his assailants who had assaulted him in the locality of Defence Housing Authority on Saturday, December 12.
The television host announced the assault in a tweet saying unidentified gunmen had attacked him near the police station in K Block of DHA and had fled while firing in the air. The tweet carried his picture with a cut on his face. The tweet caused an uproar on the social media platform.
Lahore main K Block DHA police station k bilkul samnay na-maloom afraad ka Hamla… firing kertay howay farar… pic.twitter.com/1to3RHTwI6
— Iqrar ul Hassan Syed (@iqrarulhassan) December 12, 2020
Taking note of the incident, Lahore Capital City Police Officer Umar Sheikh ordered immediate arrest of the assailants, according to a statement from his office. “Legal action should be taken against those involved in the incident,” Sheikh was quoted in the statement.
Lahore Cantt Superintendent of Police Saad Aziz said the assault happened near Wateen Chowk and that seven people have been arrested by the Defence police. He said the attackers were on their way to a wedding ceremony and assaulted Hassan and his crew for making a video. Police said they had taken over custody of the incident’s CCTV footage and that they are going to file cases against the perpetrators under anti-terrorism laws.
Azhar Mashwani, Punjab chief minister’s focal person for digital media, tweeted that seven individuals had been arrested in connection with the incident. “Police is investigating the matter and further action will be taken accordingly,” he said.
7 people involved in this attack have been arrested by Lahore Police.
— Azhar Mashwani (@MashwaniAzhar) December 12, 2020
In a later tweet, Hassan told his followers that he was fine. “Police had already alerted their control rooms about the aerial firing of the attackers. The police have taken the recording of the attack in their custody. Legal proceedings will be initiated against the attackers under firing and anti-terrorism laws,” he said in his tweet.
On December 13, Hassan posted a video message that he has forgiven his attackers in order to set an example of forgiveness in light of growing intolerance and culture of violence in the society. He praised the Lahore police for quickly arresting the suspects in the case. He said he would not become a complainant in the case, adding that the State would deal with the accused for violation of laws and disturbing public peace. The suspects were released after posting bail in the case on Sunday.
میں ہمیشہ کی طرح خود پر حملہ کرنے والوں کو معاف کر رہا ہوں، اس لئے کہ سرِعام کا مشن ذاتی لڑائی یا ذاتی مفاد کا مشن نہیں ہے۔
لاہور پولیس نے البتہ ان لوگوں پر فائرنگ کا مقدمہ درج کر کے، تیز ترین گرفتاریاں عمل میں لا کر اپنا فرض بھر پور انداز میں نبھایا ہےhttps://t.co/jWQ80OvamH
— Iqrar ul Hassan Syed (@iqrarulhassan) December 13, 2020
According to International and local media bodies, media professionals and journalists are facing attacks, threats and intimidation in the discharge of their duties in the country. In a recent white paper on global journalism, the International Federation of Journalists have included Pakistan and India among the five ‘Most Dangerous Countries for Practice of Journalism in the World’. Pakistan has been placed third in the list of most dangerous countries, with 138 journalists killed, followed by India with 116 journalists murdered in a span of 30 years.
According to the IFJ website, six journalists have lost their lives in the discharge of their duties in Pakistan this year. The slain journalists are Aziz Memon, Zulfiqar Mandrani, Anwar Jan, Abid Hussain, Javed Khan, and Qais Javid. Media bodies have called for legislation for protection of journalist in the country. However, the federal government has yet to enforce the proposed bill on protection of journalists.