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Posted by on Mar 16, 2007 in Media | 3 comments

President Musharraf’s Attack and Defense

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Pakistan’s President Pervez Musharraf personally apologised for a raid by riot police on a private television station on Friday, in a rare live telephone interview with the channel, says DNA.

Footage showed police entering the office of Geo Television in Islamabad during violent protests over the sacking of the country’s chief justice and breaking windows and smashing equipment.

“The police damaged our infrastructure. This attack on the freedom of the press is unprecedented in the 60-year history of this country,” Khan, who presents the programme, said after the police incident on Friday.

“The offices of The News, an English language-daily, and the Urdu-language Jang, which are both part of the same media group as Geo, were also damaged, sources at the group said.

“Another channel accused the government of fresh attempts to censor their coverage of the row over Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, whose sacking by Musharraf on March 16 sparked the protests.

” ‘We have been told not to make Chaudhry a hero and to avoid undue coverage of lawyers’ protests,’ said Talat Hussain, head of the news section of Aaj television said earlier on Friday.”

Meanwhile a recent report says the Pakistan police has arrested over 100 Opposition leaders in midnight raids across Islamabad including several hardliner MPs. Another 50 activists have been detained in Lahore.

The handling of the case has fuelled suspicion that Musharraf feared the independent-minded judge would not accept any move by him to retain his role as army chief, which constitutionally he should give up this year, says The Scotsman.

The US administration is also closely monitoring the situation in Pakistan. Calling the case “a matter of deep concern,” the United States urged close anti-terrorism ally Pakistan on Thursday to handle in an “above-board,” open way the dismissal and detention of the country’s top judge, says a Reuters report.

“It is essential for any developing democracy to adhere to the rule of law and conduct any investigations … in a clear, above-board, transparent manner that strictly accords with Pakistan’s laws,” State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said.

Some ‘developing democracy’ this under a military dictator, Mr McCormack!!!

For a detailed report on the attack on the Pakistani media please click here…

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