RSF urges UK to charge London-based instigator of attack on Karachi TV channel offices

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ISLAMABAD, Aug 29 (APP): In the wake of an attack by armed members of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) on a TV channels offices in Karachi, Reporters Without Borders also known as Reporters Sand Frontieres (RSF) has called on the British authorities to bring charges against the MQM’s London-based leader Altaf Hussain, who openly urged his followers to carry out the attack.

Speaking by telephone to his followers on 22 August, Altaf Hussain angrily criticized the Pakistani media and urged his supporters “to storm the offices of TV channels,” said a press release of the RSF issued Monday.

Just minutes after the phone call, MQM members launched their attack on the ARY News offices in the Karachi district of Saddar and the Karachi Press Club. They threw stones at the premises and fired shots in the air. Armed with sticks, some of them stormed inside, attacked employees and caused a great deal of damage.

According to the information obtained by Freedom Network, at least two reporters and four cameraman – working for Samaa TV, Neo TV, Channel 24, ARY News, Dunya News and 92 News – sustained minor injuries during the attack.The authorities reacted rapidly, dispersing the activists and making a dozen arrests.

“We welcome the reaction of the Pakistani authorities to these acts of organized violence,” said Benjamin Ismail, the head of RSF’s Asia-Pacific desk.

“At the same time, since the violence was directly instigated from London by Altaf Hussain, we call on the British government to accept that it has a duty to bring proceedings against him.”

“By directly inciting physical attacks on journalists, this politician committed a crime that the British authorities cannot ignore, even if the violence did not take place in the United Kingdom.

The British government has an opportunity to directly contribute to the fight against crimes of violence against journalists,” Benjamin Ismail said.