16 September 1997


Photographers assaulted by hospital staff

Incident details



(PPF/IFEX) - Nine photographers for national daily newspapers
were beaten up by the hospital staff of Rawalpindi General
Hospital on 11 September 1997. According to press reports, the
photographers were attempting to take photographs of a slain
worker of the religious party Tehrik Nifaz-i-Fiqh-i-Jaffaria,
when their cameras were snatched by the Chief Medical Officer and
other staff. Two photographers, Mr. Zulfiqar of the daily "Jang"
and Mr. Khurram of daily "Assas", were locked in an emergency
room by the hospital staff. According to another photographer,
around 200 medical internees of the hospital came out of the
hostel, attacked the photographers and smashed their cameras.

Some of the journalists rushed to the Medical Superintendent for
help but he paid no attention to their complaint. The journalists
then approached the local police station where they were asked to
obtain a medical legal report (MLR) from the district
headquarters of the hospital before lodging their complaint. The
Medical Superintendent refused to issue the MLR, saying that the
incident had not taken place in the jurisdiction of his hospital.

The journalists have not yet succeeded in obtaining the MLR and
registering the case against the medical officers of the
Rawalpindi General Hospital.

In addition to Zulfiqar and Khurram, the other attacked
photographers included: Abidi of "Al-Akhbar"; Raja Iftikhar and
Afzal of the "Pakistan Observer"; Qaiser Shah of "Khabrain";
Majid Ali of "Business Times"; and Abdul Hameed of "Jang".

Doctors of the Rawalpindi General Hospital have lodged a First
Information Report against the press photographers alleging that
they abused and scolded them without any reason.

Representative bodies of the journalist community have strongly
condemned the incident. To express their resentment, local
journalists observed a day of protest supported by the Pakistan
Union of Journalists on 12 September. The journalists called for
the suspension of the doctors involved in the incident. The
Senior Superintendent of Police of the area assured the
journalists that action would be taken against the doctors.


Pakistan Press Foundation
Press Centre
Shahrah Kamal Ataturk
Karachi 74200
ppf (@) pakistanpressfoundation.org
Fax:+92 21 221 7069
More from Pakistan
More from Asia & Pacific


  • The Campaign for Justice: Press Freedom in South Asia 2013-14

    Journalism in South Asia is far from an easy profession, as the 12th annual review of journalism in the region "The Campaign for Justice: Press Freedom in South Asia 2013-14" portrays. But this year's report also tells the story of the courage of South Asia's journalists to defend press freedom and to ensure citizens' right to information and freedom of expression in the face of increasing challenges to the profession and personal safety.

  • THE STORIES WOMEN JOURNALISTS TELL: Women in Media in South Asia

    The report is the first created by the South Asia Media Solidarity Network (SAMSN) looking specifically at the experience of women journalists in the South Asia sub-region