ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: The Dispatch News Desk (DND) News Agency strongly condemned the arrest of ARY News Anchor Iqrarul Hasan which apparently was another attempt to curb the freedom for journalists in the crises-filled country.
Earlier in the day, Iqrarul Hasan, who hosts popular program Sar-e-Aam in ARY News, was arrested in the Sindh assembly after he led a team into the assembly premises with a pistol to expose security lapses under a sting operation.
In a condemnation statement, the DND team voiced its strong concerns over Iqrarul Hasan’s arrest while performing his professional duties, and demanded his immediate release as it would, if not freed soon, likely be sparking nationwide protests by the journalist community.
The journalist community in Pakistan has already been suffering immensely as continued targeted attacks and barriers imposed by various governments on freedom of speech have left little space for journalists to work freely.
Karachi police must release ARY anchor @iqrarulhassan because exposing security lapses through a sting operation is not a crime
— Hamid Mir (@HamidMirGEO) April 29, 2016
Iqrarul Hasan accompanied by a team member, carrying a concealed pistol in his clothing, succeeded to enter the assembly premises on Friday morning without being properly checked. But as Iqrar reached the Sindh assembly Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani and showed him the gun in order to bring substandard security arrangements at the building to the speaker’s notice, the ARY team was taken into custody as per Sindh Home Minister Sohail Anwar Siyal’s orders.
The arrest of ARY team including Iqrarul Hasan prompted a strong protest by people from all walks of life in social media.
Instead of improving security for Sindh Assembly, PPP govt has arrested Iqrar ul Hassan for showing them the mirror #WeSupportIqrar
— Senator Faisal Abidi (@SenFaisalAbidi) April 29, 2016
There are too few Journalists who are doing the real Journalism in the Country and Iqrar is one of them. Respect him#WeSupportIqrar
— Waqar Ahmed (@TheAngryLawyer3) April 29, 2016
— Ameer Abbas (@ameerabbas84) April 29, 2016
#WeSupportIqrar Sindh govt must release Iqrar and take special security measures to ensure the safety of everyone in assembly.
— Farrukh Habib (@FarrukhHabibISF) April 29, 2016
The people were of the view that the arrest of ARY team doesn’t befit Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), a political party which itself went through enormous difficulties in the past including imprisonment.