KARACHI - Karachi Press Club was attacked yesterday by stick-wielding hooligans in the name of protest against hanging of former Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer’s murder Mumtaz Qadri.

A number of religious organizations had arranged protests in different cities of Pakistan on the Chehlum of Qadri, who was executed last month.

The main protest in Karachi on this occasion was held jointly by different religious organisations at the Numaish Chowrangi.

Around 50 people, reportedly belonging to Anjuman Tulba-e-Islam (ATI), gathered around the press club to ‘teach a lesson’ to media persons for not giving as much coverage to Qadri-related protests and events as their wished.

Karachi Press Club President Fazil Jamili said the stick-wielding thugs tried to enter the press club and they went on a rampage upon being barred from entering.

The violent attackers beat up some journalists and tried to set on fire a DSNG van of the Jaag TV parked outside the club. “They also took the camera and the tripods away with them,” he said.

Strongly condemning the attack, which came around 5:30pm and continued for at least 10 long minutes, Jamali called it an attack on freedom of speech. The attackers fled the place unharmed after arrival of the extra contingent of the law enforcers.

This is not first attack on journalists by the so-called Qadri supporters as media offices and Hyderabad Press Club too were attacked after he execution of Mumtaz Qadri by the state.

“Press club is also located in the red-zone but proper security arrangements have not been made by the authorities concerned here, which raises serious questions on the sincerity of the authorities regarding security and protection to the journalists,” the press club president said.

Fazil Jamili said that the press club administration is planning future course of action to ensure security at the club to avoid such ugly happenings around here in future.

Artillery Maidan Police SHO Abdul Ghaffar said that police will register a case under Section 7 of Anti-Terrorism Act against the ATI Karachi chapter chief and his unidentified associates who attacked the press club. He said they will register a case on behalf of state if no complainant approached them.

Interestingly, ATI Karachi chapter chief Iftikhar Ali also condemned the incident and refuted their involvement.

“We are running a non-violent organisation and our workers were holding a protest at the Numaish Chowrangi but some anti-social elements attacked the press club to defame the ATI,” he said, adding that it will be an ‘injustice’ if the police nominated him and his party colleagues in the FIR.