Former PEMRA chairman attacked after disparaging comments on ISI chief

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Former PEMRA Chairman and senior journalist Absar Alam was critically wounded in an attack after serious accusations on the ISI chief.

According to the details, Alam was taking a morning walk near his house in Islamabad on Tuesday morning when unknown assailants attacked him. He received one bullet in the stomach and was promoted moved to hospital where doctors pronounced him safe.

Absar Alam is a senior broadcasting journalist with more than 25 years of experience in the field. He has also served as the chairman of the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA), Pakistan’s media watchdog.

In a video taped soon after the attack, Alam can be heard describing the attack. He says that he was taking a morning walk near his house in Islamabad when unknown attackers opened fire on him. “This is my message to those [who attacked me]: I am not one to lose my spirit”, he said

Tuesday’s attack came two days after the veteran journalist accused the ISI chief of pressuring him to feature critical coverage of the previous government, led by Nawaz Sharif. In a series, of tweets on Twitter, Alam said that during his time as the Chairman of PEMRA, Channel 92, an Urdu news streaming channel, was banned for violating the National Action Plan. He said that the ISI Chief General Faiz Hameed called me and directed me to unban Channel 92, which qas critical of the Nawaz Sharif government, and block all the remaining news services. He refused to comply and the federal government issued a directive banning the news services.

“Will someone ask General Faiz what was his motive for unbanning the firebrand Channel 92?” he wrote.

Tuesday’s attack on Absar Alam engendered a massive uproar among the journalist community in Pakistan. Hundreds of prominent journalists, anchors and activists took the social media to condemn the attack and demand that the government investigate the case.

Reacting to the incident, PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz said in a tweet: “Silencing the voice of dissent is cancer that has plagued this country for many years. Absar Alam Sahab is the latest victim of this cruel & barbaric crime. May Allah SWT heal his wounds and the wounds of this country. Ameen.”

Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed said that the authorities have been directed to investigate the attack and bring the perpetrators to justice. “They cannot escape the law”, he said.

Federal Minister Fawad Chaudhary also condemned the attack, calling it out as an “assassination attempt.”


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