Police officers visit Jamrud Press Club to apologize for the arrest and torture on tribal journalist Abuzar.

Said Nazir

PESHAWAR: Peshawar police released a tribal journalist Abuzar Afridi after beating and torturing him during his detention in Hayatabad Police station on Tuesday.

Abuzar, who is working for Urdu medium newspaper Express from Landikotal, was rounded up by police when he was shooting a video of police raid in Shinwari market in Karkhanu, a hub of non-custom paid foreign goods located on the border between Peshawar and Khyber Tribal district.

He was shifted to Hayatabad police station where he was physically tortured in the lock up, members of Landikotal press club said.

Following the incident journalists from Landikotal Press Club took to the Pak-Afghan Highway and staged a protest demonstration against the highhandedness of the Hayatabad Police. They demanded the immediate release of fellow journalist and strict action against the responsible police officials.

Later journalists from Jamrud Press club led by Awal Sher Afridi met with the officers of Hayatabad Police stations who termed the incident as misunderstanding and released the journalist.

Following Pashtun tradition of Nanawati, police officers including DSP Rahim Hussain and inspector Hayatabad police station Akhter Nasir visited Jamrud Press Club where they apologized for the arrest of journalist Abuzar in a meeting with journalists community from Khyber tribal district. However, the police officers did not hand over sheeps to the journalist community as practiced under Nanawati tradition.

This is the second time that journalists from Khyber tribal districts have been nabbed and tortured by Hayatabad police in last six months.

Earlier on April 25 this year, Journalists Ezat Gul and Shehzad Afridi were caught and beaten by the police after they were making video of police bargaining with smugglers who carrying non-custom paid goods to rest of Peshawar city from the Karkhanu market. Afterwards they were put in lock up and beaten for several hours.

Both the journalists were released after police and journalist community from Khyber tribal district reached a compromise and forgave each other.

Interestingly in both cases neither the political and police leadership have taken any action the policemen responsible for the torture arrest of journalists, nor journalist community from across tribal districts and KP condemned and protested the high handedness of police.

The fragmentation and division among journalists’ community across FATA and KP has forced their colleagues from Khyber tribal district to compromise on any offence committed by police or any other group against them. This defensive and apologetic attitude may perpetuate such offences against journalists in future.

Last week journalist Sohail Khan was murdered by unknown armed men in Haripur for what his colleagues say ‘reporting on drug trafficking’. He received several threats for his story on the illegal drug business and finally he was killed. In a big development Haripur police claimed to have arrested the alleged killer of Sohail Khan on Pak-Afghan border when he was trying to escape to Iran via Afghanistan.