24NewsHD TV reporter’s arrest sparks countrywide protests

Justice Athar Minallah remarks if such was a case ban the freedom of expression

By: News Desk      Published: 10:40 AM, 23 Sep, 2020
24NewsHD TV reporter’s arrest sparks countrywide protests

The arrest of 24NewsHD TV channel’s reporter Ihtesham Kiyani on Wednesday morning sparked countrywide protests by journalists.

Newsmen were up in arms over the out-of-the-blue arrest of the TV reporter. Protests were reported from several cities where journalists condemned Kiyani’s arrest and also expressed solidarity with him.

Regretting Kiyani’s arrest, the journalists termed attempts to stop newsmen from performing professional duties as unconstitutional and negation of press freedom. They said the ‘dictatorship’ of the ‘selected’ government is hindering Constitution, law, democracy and civil liberties.

Ihtesham Kiyani was arrested by Islamabad police without any reasons but freed him hours later on the orders of the Islamabad High Court Chief Justice.

The newsmen staged protest demonstrations across the country condemning the arrest of Ihtesham Kiyani, terming the move cruel and unreasonable and demanding Prime Minister Imran Khan and Interior Minister Ijaz Shah to take notice of the incident.

A scene of arrest of Ihtesham Kiyani.

Renowned journalist Hamid Mir denounced the arrest of Ihtesham Kiyani, saying where there is no press freedom there is nothing.

In his reaction, PFUJ Secretary General Rana Azeem said the government wanted to turn every channel into PTV (Pakistan Television). Afzal Butt said they will not allow anyone to hurt media. “We will face the ‘dirty tactics’,” he added.

Journalists in Islamabad, Lahore, Multan, Mianwali, Toba Tek Singh and other cities stages protests where they raised slogans in support of Ihtesham Kiyani. They vowed to protect the sanctity of pen and camera.

Earlier, Chief Justice of Islamabad High Court Justice Athar Minallah ordered the immediate release of 24NewsHD TV channel reporter, Ihtesham Kiyani, who was arrested by the police while he was on his way to court Wednesday morning.

Chief Justice Athar Minallah ordered the police to release the reporter at once. When the Chief Justice was informed that the police told the journalists that Ihetsham Kiyani was arrested on IHC Chief Justice's orders, a fuming Justice Athar Minallah said that he did not give any such orders, asking police to release the reporter.

Justice Athar Minallah remarked that if such was a case then ban the freedom of expression.

Following court's orders, Superintendent Police has directed for the release of Ihtesham Kiyani, who rushed straight back to the court after his release to perform her professional duty.

The police have shifted Ihtesham Kiyani to Ramna police station after arresting him.

The police also denied reports that arms recovered from the TV reporter.

According to the TV channel, Ihtesham Kiyani was coming to Islamabad High Court for the coverage of a case involving PML-N Vice-President Maryam Nawaz and her husband Captain (r) Safdar.

Maryam Nawaz was due to appear in IHC which is hearing appeals regarding Alazizia Reference sentences.

While reacting to the arrested of Ihtesham Kiyani, renowned journalist Hamid Mir told SP Sarfraz that he was also stopped by the police while he was on his way to the court.

Hamid Mir told 24NewsHD TV channel that the police also tortured Ihtesham Kiyani. "IHC Chief Justice has said that the press freedom is under threat in Pakistan," Mir further said.