The Committee to Protect Journalists has called for an “immediate and impartial investigation” into an attack on Zahid Shareef Rana, a Pakistani journalist who was allegedly targeted for a report on political associates and relatives of a legislator linked to Imran Khan’s Tehreek-e-Insaaf party.
Rana told CPJ that he was attacked on Sunday by 10 men who he alleged were relatives and associates of Ameer Muhammad Khan, an assembly legislator from Punjab province. This came after Rana, who is a reporter for the newspaper Daily Ausaf, shared a report on his Facebook page alleging that Khan’s family members and associates were involved in criminal activities. Rana said that in response to his report, police raided the home of one of Khan’s close political associates.
Rana said that he was held and whipped with ropes, and had “lesions all over his body and has lost hearing from the chemical poured into his right ear”.
A bystander also recorded a of the incident.
Police registered an FIR at the Kallur Kot police station against 10 persons, of which six have been named, according to CPJ. In a published on Wednesday, CPJ asked Pakistani authorities to hold the perpetrators of the attack to account.
Rana told CPJ that he was also targeted on January 5 after conducting a live interview in which an opposition politician linked to the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) had accused Khan of “corruption and abuse of power”.
CPJ’s Asia programme coordinator Steven Butler said, “Police must launch an immediate investigation into the assault against journalist Zahid Shareef Rana and not allow any possible political pressure to derail it…Authorities need to put an end to Pakistan’s long record of impunity for crimes against journalists, including beatings, disappearances and murder. With the attack on Rana caught on video, police can offer no excuse for a failed investigation.”