At a time when India and Pakistan are involved in high-pitched rhetoric on 26/11, unidentified persons roughed up two Indian mediapersons in Lahore on Thursday. They snatched their camera, mobile phones and credit cards before leaving. The incident is expected to further fuel tensions between the two neighbours.
Significantly, the two News X journalists — Jujhar Singh and Tilak Raj — had run an investigative story on Wednesday where they had traced the shop from where engines for the boats used in the Mumbai attacks were reportedly purchased. They had also gone up to the barricades guarding the house of Jamat-ud Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed on Wednesday night, where they were questioned by the security.
Immediately after the attack, the South Asian Free Media Association (SAFMA), a body of journalists from South Asian countries, swung into action to help the assaulted mediapersons. The police later reached the hotel and assured the journalists that they would escort them up to the airport. The two will be flown back home via Bangkok.
“We were feeling since yesterday that we were being followed. This morning, we saw two people in the hotel lobby. When we went for work, the two followed us on a bike. A car too was following us. At Anarkali Bazar, 6-7 people suddenly appeared and snatched our camera and other valuables,” Jujhar Singh told HT. He added that director general of external publicity Khalil Humayun talked to him on phone to ask about the incident. “I don’t have too much faith in the apparatus right now. But SAFMA has been extremely helpful,” he added.
Photographer Tilak Raj said that while the assailants asked whether they had their passports, they did not eventually check them and vanished.
The editor of Daily Times and secretary general of the South Asia Media Commission, Najam Sethi, has condemned the attack.
SAFMA secretary general Imtiaz Alam told HT that the association has taken up the matter with top authorities in Pakistan. “We have demanded that these journalists be protected and the attackers rounded up,” he said.