Army Personnel Manhandle free media in Waziristan

Manhandling by Military personnel, journalists boycotted media coverage of Temporarily Displaced Persons (TDPs) returning to South Waziristan Agency

Pak Army

BANNU: Local Journalists boycotted media coverage of “The Repatriation of TDPs”, as a protest against their stoppage and manhandling by military personnel during coverage of the recent visit of Governor-Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa to South Waziristan Agency. They told THE PASHTUN TIMES that military personnel of Pakistan Army constantly misbehaved with journalists and  did not allow them to cover the situation freely, in the war torn area of Waziristan.

Senior journalist Sailab Mehsud told media that despite the official invitation-letter issued to media personnel by Political Administration, they were not only mistreated at various security check posts, but also stopped from coverage. Mr. Mehsud added that the behavour of the security forces with journalists was very crude and unprofessional.

Ex-President of Mehsud Press Club Farooq Mehsud said that they informed media organizations about their protest against the disrespectful behaviour of Pak Army personnel, and asked them to stand up for the sake of media esteem and freedom. He added that they will continue their boycott till an officials apology.

The Journalists who boycotted belong to South Waziristan Agency, Mehsud Press Club, F.R Tank Jandollah Press Club, and District Tank Press Club. Among them were included Sailab Mehsud from Mashal Radio, Adnan Bittani from Deewa Radio (VOA), Farooq Mehsud from Aaj TV, Saud Mehsud from Reuter, Ayub Bittani from AVT Khyber News.

Pak Army launched offensive operation ‘Zarb-e-Azb’ in North Waziristan Agency on 15th June 2014 against various militant groups, including the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan but local and international media members have not been accorded free access to the region. Also, the local journalists showed severe concerns over the role of Pak Army and the nature of the ongoing operation. A local journalist Adnan Bittani from VOA told THE PASHTUN TIMES that militants still exist in the region but are in different get up now.

The journalists have also shown reservations about the billions of rehabilitation funds Army personnel have been provided for the rehabilitation of Waziristan. The media is of the opinion that army isn’t using these funds transparently for rehabilitation. They demanded access to documentation and accounting records of rehabilitation funds from the political government of Pakistan.

Report by our team’s members

THE PASHTUN TIMES

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