Zaman does not give in despite beating
TV 2’s Kadafi Zaman, just released from custody in Pakistan, will continue to report about the situation in the country before the general elections. The charges against him are upheld.
The Norwegian TV 2 reporter Kadafi Zaman was arrested and beaten by the police on Friday when he covered a political demonstration in Gujrat, in the northeast of Pakistan. On Monday he was released from detention.
The elections in Pakistan are on July 25th, and the authorities have placed a ban on demonstrations.
The Police attack occurred during a protest held by the Pakistan Muslim League, one of the largest parties in the country. Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif belongs to this party, and he returned to Pakistan on that day.
– I was reporting on how he was received by his supporters. What I witnessed was that the police attacked the political activists with riot sticks. This happens shortly before the election, TV 2’s Zaman tells his own channel.
He describes how the police approach the press, especially the local press, who gets banned from reporting, and local activists who are being harassed, arrested and beaten.
Will not leave
– I’m not going to get on an aeroplane even though I’ve got beat all over the body with batons. I intend to report on this election to tell people how this is conducted, says the Norwegian reporter immediately after being released from custody.
He has reported from elections in many countries but never experienced anything similar. Not even during the revolution in Egypt.
On Friday, Kadafi Zaman was arrested by Pakistani police just before going on live television to show how the situation was during the demonstration. He got beaten on his back and to his ribs and placed in a cell with 20 to 30 other persons. Most of them are politicians elected by the public, including candidates for the National and the Provincial Assembly.
– I have not experienced anything akin to the brutality, Pakistani police should be really ashamed of themselves, and I think Norwegian politicians should take this up with Pakistan, a partner country for both Norway as a whole and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in particular, he tells TV 2.
Many have voiced their opinion after it became known that the Norwegian reporter was beaten and arrested on Friday.
Among them is the profiled Liberal politician and Member of Parliament, Abid Q. Raja. Raja tells NTB that he has made at least 50 or 60 phone calls to different Government officials in Pakistan.
– Central Government has become involved, and I am particularly pleased with the involvement of the local Government in Pakistan, which has a major influence. The Pakistani embassy in Oslo, the Norwegian Embassy in Pakistan and the Norwegian Foreign Ministry has also done a splendid job, says Raja.
Raja, who has Pakistani background, says he is sure that all parliamentary representatives in Norway who have a connection to foreign countries would do the same to help a Norwegian journalist in a similar situation abroad.
– I’m glad that Kadafi Zaman is released. The Foreign Ministry (UD) has worked continuously with this matter, says Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ine Eriksen Søreide (Conservatives) in a comment to NTB.
– Attacks on journalists are unacceptable and have no place in a democracy. It is important that Pakistani and foreign journalists freely and independently can report on the General Elections in Pakistan. Norway condemns attacks on all journalists. By using violence, threats or similar to curb their freedom and independence, the Cabinet Minister continues.
© NTB scanpix / #Norway Today