Islamabad: SAMAA’s and other TV channel teams taken hostage by ZTBL Employees (Pics Gallery)

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ISLAMABAD (April 27, 2011 – Breaking News: SAMAA’s news team and those of other TV channels have been taken hostage by employees of Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited (ZTBL) at its head office in Islamabad on Wednesday.

SAMAA’s crew (reporter Wasim Malik and cameraman Liaqat Abbasi) and others went to ZTBL to cover a raid conducted by the Revenue Department’s team to recover over Rs. 85 million.
ZTBL employees launched an attack on the media and tortured them brutally – the bank’s abusive employees ripped their clothes, broke their cameras and mobile phones.
Security staff has closed the building’s doors and are assuming a threatening, abusive stance towards the media outside the building.
Despite the passage of over an hour, police had not started proper efforts to rescue the media teams from ZTBL’s employees.
Later, heavy contingents of police and anti terrorist forces arrived for rescue purposes but did not launch the needful action.
ZTBL’s employees released SAMAA’s crew after the arrival of police contingents, but did not hand over the culprits (security in charge and his accomplices); police arrested two other security guards.
Federal Information Minister Firdous Ashiq Awan also arrived at the site amid continued chaos outside ZTBL’s head office.
While the Federal Information Minister was present on the scene, the police launched a baton charge on the media crew instead of arresting the real culprits involved.
Many media persons sustained injuries in the police baton charge. A couple of them, including SAMAA’s staffer Sadaqat Ali, received injuries to the head and are reportedly serious


ZTBL security chief arrested
ISLAMABAD: chief security official Colonel Mansoor, who ordered to hold media teams hostage at the premises of the Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited (ZTBL) Islamabad, has been arrested on Wednesday.
Talking to media persons after talks, Minister for Information and Broadcasting Firdous Ashiq Awan said that Colonel Mansoor has been arrested and cases would be lodged against ZTBL employees and police officials who tortured the journalists.
The minister assured media persons that strict action would be taken against men involved in the incidents, adding better healthcare facilities would be provided to the injured journalists.
Firdous Awan also promised that compensation would be paid for the loss incurred in the two incidents.

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