September 13, 2022
By Rehan Piracha
LAHORE: A journalist in Ghotki is facing an alleged case of extortion after reporting on the eviction of Hindu families from a flood relief camp in Mirpur Mathelo.
According to local media reports, Ghotki police registered a first information report against Nasrullah Gadani, a reporter for the daily Awami Awaz, when he reported in a live blog about the administration’s alleged eviction of Hindu families from a tent city established for flood victims in Mirpur Mathello. Reportedly, Gadani had an altercation with a police team sent to the relief camp for evicting the families on September 6.
According to Gadani, some flood-hit families, many of whom were from the Hindu community, had taken shelter at the camp. Police were trying to expel the families from the camp claiming that they were nomads and professional beggars, he added.
Gadani said he covered the police action against the families for his newspaper, adding that he had also contacted the Ghotki deputy commissioner who had ordered police to evict the families from the camp.
On September 7, Gadani was arrested in a raid on his house and produced before the judge, who remanded him in police custody for five days. He was released in the evening after local journalists interceded with the Sindh chief minister.
Ghotki Union of Journalists president Aamir Chana said people including journalists were left devastated by the floods in the province. “It is unfortunate that the district administration and police had Gaddani booked in an alleged case of extortion after he used harsh words in his live video blog to condemn police action against flood victims in the relief camp,” he told Voicepk.net.
Chana said there was no evidence to support allegations of extortion against Gaddani, adding that was why he was released by police later in the evening. He said the court case was an attempt to pressure journalists that were pointing out delays and maladministration in the distribution of relief items to flood-hit people in the province. “Relief items have not yet reached thousands of flood victims in the province, reflecting government apathy,” he added.
On September 12, Civil Judge Mohammad Ashraf Dehraj adjourned the hearing of Gadani’s case for a week. Gaddani said he did not attend the hearing as he was not informed about it. Gaddani’s lawyer is likely to seek quashing of the FIR in the next hearing on September 19.