Police arrest journalist outside IHC – Pakistan

Islamabad police on Wednesday arrested a reporter who had arrived at the high court to cover a hearing of an appeal filed by Maryam Nawaz against her conviction in the Avenfield corruption reference.

Ehtisham Kiyani, who works for Channel 24, was arrested by police officials deployed for security and was shifted to Ramna police station. He was stopped at a police checkpoint outside the court where he introduced himself but was detained by officials. After arresting him, police claimed that Kiyani was carrying weapons.

Islamabad High Court Chief Justice Athar Minallah took notice of the incident and summoned high-ranking officials of the capital police and ordered Kiyani’s immediate release. The reporter was released soon after and Superintendent of Police Sarfaraz Virk said that no weapons had been recovered from Kiyani, adding that a private TV channel had reported “fake news”.

Speaking to reporters after his release, Kiyani said that he was falsely accused of bearing weapons. He added that he was detained by police for over an hour, during which he was “tortured” and “harassed”.

“I was mistreated by SP Zubair Sheikh,” he said. Kiyani further said that police took away his mobile phone and wallet. Despite multiple requests, he was not allowed to contact his family or his office colleagues, Kiyani told reporters.

He said that police’s attitude with journalists was “insulting” and demanded Islamabad’s inspector general to take notice of the treatment meted out to media personnel by law enforcement officials.

The journalist’s arrest was also condemned by PML-N spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb, who termed the incident “condemnable, regrettable and shameful”.

“Stopping the media from performing its professional duties is unconstitutional and against media freedom,” she said while speaking to reporters outside the court.

“Selected government’s fascism and dictatorship is trampling upon the Constitution, law, democracy and civilian’s freedom,” she added and demanded that those responsible for “torturing media” personnel should face legal action.