Pak intel officials suspended for torturing journalists

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Pakistani television host and journalist Syed Iqrar ul Hassan on Tuesday accused officials of the Pakistan Intelligence Bureau (IB) of detaining him and members of his team for hours at their Karachi office, subjecting them to extreme forms of torture after he attempted to expose the alleged corruption within their ranks, Dawn reported.

Following the incident, Deputy Director General of IB, Iftikhar Nabi Tunio, issued a notification suspending five officials “for mistreatment of ARY News team and mishandling the situation”.

Hassan’s ordeal came to light when pictures of him bloodied up, in torn-up clothes and receiving medical treatment on a hospital bed surfaced on Twitter.

Later, his fellow TV journalist Waseem Badami shared a video of him visiting Hassan at the hospital, by which time the injured journalist had been bandaged up, while his left arm was bound in a sling, the report said.

Speaking to ARY News, the channel he works for, Hassan said that he and his team members were “stripped naked, blindfolded and tortured for exposing the corruption of an IB inspector”.

He alleged that IB officials also shot videos of him after stripping him and his team members naked.

Hassan explained that an officer of IB was taking bribe at the gate of the agency’s office and “we tried to report him to the high-ups, but senior IB officer Rizwan Shah manhandled the Sar-e-Aam team and kept beating us”.

“We were treated as a mole working for a foreign country,” he added, the report said.

Hassan also claimed he and his team were held hostage for more than three hours. “I got almost 8-10 stitches on my head due to the torture,” he said.

Hassan added that a few members of his team were even given electric shocks in “sensitive” body parts.

“I want to bring [to light] the video we shot at the IB office, but I learnt that it has been discarded by the agency officials,” he said, as per the report.

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