The News reporter Ahmed Noorani was intercepted and attacked by unidentified assailants in Islamabad’s Zero Point area on Friday morning, police said.
The attackers assaulted Noorani and his driver with knives near Urdu University. Both the injured were taken to Poly Clinic for treatment, police said, and are said to be in a stable condition despite sustaining wounds to the head.
Noorani has been covering the Sharif family’s legal troubles extensively since the Panama Papers verdict. He had also covered the Supreme Court’s proceedings on the Panama Papers case.
The News Editor Investigations Ansar Abbasi tweeted that Noorani had been “severely beaten” by six attackers and sustained “multiple head injuries.”
“He is conscious,” he added.
Politicians and colleagues took to Twitter to condemn the attack on the journalist.
Noorani’s colleague Syed Talat Hussain described the attack as “shameful”.
“[The] threat to journalists hasn’t been clearer, more present and more apparent,” he said.
Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf leader Asad Umar condemned the attack, calling for the culprits to be identified and punished.
Pakistan ranks 139 out of 180 countries on the World Press Freedom Index 2017 compiled by Reporters Without Borders, placing it among the world’s most dangerous countries for journalists.
In the lat 15 years, at least 117 journalists have been killed, while only three cases were taken up in judicial courts.
In September, anchorperson Matiullah Jan was travelling to Bhara Kahu from Islamabad along with his family when two motorbike riders threw a piece of brick on his car and broke its windscreen. However, the journalist and his family members remained unhurt.
Two different attacks targeting newspaper agencies were reported in Balochistan on Thursday ─ one a hand grenade attack on a newspaper agency office in Turbat which injured eight people, and the other an incident of firing at a vehicle carrying newspapers in Awaran.
The attacks come as separatist militant groups have launched a campaign against media houses for not publishing their statements in newspapers.
The Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors has declared the situation regarding press freedom in Balochistan as extremely bad and contrary to democratic standards.