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Thursday, 19 February 2009

Journalist Imtiaz Alam attacked in Lahore: The price of writing/speaking against Taliban and their sympathizers....

SAFMA secretary general Imtiaz Alam attacked

* Assault followed by threatening phone call
* Veteran journalist says will not stop speaking out against terror

By Adnan Lodhi

LAHORE: Unidentified men attacked senior journalist Imtiaz Alam late on Wednesday.

Imtiaz Alam, who is the secretary general of South Asian Free Media Association (SAFMA), said he was travelling to his house in Doctor’s Colony at about 11pm when four men attacked his car with batons. Alam was injured when a shattered window glass struck his arm.

After battering the vehicle for several minutes, the bearded men clad in shalwar kamiz fled on their motorcycles. Alam said the men were aged between 25 and 30.

His wife, Dr Nusrat Habib, told Daily Times she heard the men thrashing the car – not too far away from the house. She said she saw the men as they fled.

Alam said he received a telephone call from a cell phone (0323 4580562) about 45 minutes later that warned him of ‘dire consequences’ if he told anyone about the attack.

A local resident said the six men had been hiding in the street waiting for the car to approach. Four of them attacked the vehicle and two looked on, he said.

Shadman Station House Officer Hamad Akhtar said an FIR had been registered and a probe would begin soon.

The veteran journalist said the ‘cowardly act’ was meant to stop him from speaking out against terrorism, but vowed to continue to raise his voice.

Daily Times Editor-in-Chief Najam Sethi said this was an act of terrorism and an attack on independent media. He urged the democratic government to take the attack on Alam seriously.

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