Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Blood and batons spur Pakistan row

If anything reveals how conflicted the structures of authority are in Pakistan it was the inability of the Media minister to restrain the destruction of the offices of a TV channel by the police. He even formally acknowledged his impotence on TV later that day. So what was the basis of the destruction of property by "14 low ranking police"? Is this what police do in Pakistan? It is hard to believe that it could have taken place without higher authority. The little men are not dumb;they knew what they were doing and they were following orders. Whose orders we may never know.

BBC News
By Masud Alam

"...a contingent of police in riot gear was smashing glass doors and equipment and firing tear gas shells inside the offices of a private TV channel ... the country's media minister was watching helplessly"
"...the minister, Mohammed Ali Durrani, arrived just after the police and tried to intervene - but they wouldn't listen to him."
"Later in the evening Mr Durrani faced the cameras, accepting his impotence and said that all he could do was to offer an apology."
"President Pervez Musharraf himself ... publicly [said he] regretted the police attack. He promised to identify and punish the culprits "
"14 low ranking police officials have been suspended"
"...the police raid looks more like a clear expression of state belligerence towards the media.The same channel had its high-profile discussion programme banned a day earlier. And three TV channels were briefly taken off air earlier in the week for running footage of bloody clashes between police and lawyers."

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