ISLAMABAD: Senior journalist with The News, Ahmad Noorani, was assaulted by unidentified attackers on the federal capital’s Khayabane Suharwardy road on Friday.

According to details, Noorani’s car was stopped by three men travelling on a motorcycle near Zero Point Interchange while he was on his way home in Islamabad from Rawalpindi.

The three men got down from their unmarked motorcycle after chasing down Noorani’s car while another three, who were standing where the car was stopped with another unmarked motorcycle, joined in and severely beat up Noorani and his driver with iron rods after throwing out the keys from the ignition.

The attackers sped away on the two bikes, with no licence plates, towards Zero Point after onlookers began gathering at the site and traffic started coming to a halt on the busy road.

Noorani was taken to the Polyclinic Hospital by a passerby where he was administered medical aid.

Out of danger now, Noorani’s medical tests are under way. He suffered head wounds and has swelling on the left side of his neck.

Doctors are expected to keep Noorani overnight for observation.

Reports said the attackers attempted to take Noorani’s mobile phones but failed to do so.

State Interior Minister Tallal Chaudhry ordered the police to secure the record of the Safe City Project cameras and bring the attackers to book.

The police are investigating the case and have recorded statements of witnesses on site.

Pakistan Peoples Party Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari condemned the attack on Noorani. According to the party’s official Twitter account, Bilawal said attacks on journalists are unacceptable and the PPP has always fought for the freedom of the press.

While visiting the injured journalist at the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences on Friday evening, Bilawal said journalist lack rights in Pakistan.

Bilawal lamented the PPP was not in power and said he wants to shed light on the issue of violence against journalists.

“There should also be an insurance policy for them [journalist],” said the PPP chairman and added there is still more to be done regarding the matter.

Moreover, Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif and State Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb condemned the attack and termed it an assault on freedom of expression.

Various groups of journalists, including the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists and the Rawalpindi-Islamabad Union of Journalists, called on the government to trace the attackers and ensure the safety of journalists.

Journalists gathered in front of the National Press Club in Islamabad on Friday evening to protest the attack on Noorani.

The governing body of the press club also demanded from the government to ensure the security of journalists.

The protesters included members of the Pakistan Union of Journalists, Rawalpindi Islamabad Union of Journalists and Video Journalists Association.

Chairman of 4thpillar.org Farooq Haider Mirza has also strongly condemned the attack and urged the authorities to arrest the perpetrators and ensure the safety of all the journalists working in Pakistan. In a statement, Farooq said that Ahmand Noorani is a member of the 4thpillar.org and he undertook a US University course organized by 4thpillar.org in Islamabad last year. –Courtesy Geo TV

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