Housekeeper assaulted by armed burglars during raid on journalist’s home

— PM ‘strongly condemns’ incident, orders Islamabad police chief to bring attackers to justice

ISLAMABAD: Shiffa Yousafzai, a journalist critical of the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), and her family have been left distressed after a raid on Tuesday night by armed burglars that left them fearing for their lives, people close to the anchorperson said.

According to the police, at least two intruders broke into Yousafzai’s home in Islamabad, asked the housekeeper about the family — who was not home at the time — before assaulting him, and made off, during what members of the media described as a targeted attack. Apparently, no items were stolen.

“The men in question also asked the staff about the whereabouts of the family. They also attempted to break into the main residential unit but could not,” the journalist said.

A late-night tweet from the account of Islamabad police said they immediately reached the scene and an investigation was underway.

Marriyum Aurangzeb, the minister for information and broadcasting, said the prime minister “strongly condemned” the incident and sought a report from the chief of Islamabad police.

According to the minister, Shehbaz Sharif said the protection of people’s lives and properties was his government’s topmost priority. He issued directives for tracing the suspects and meting out strict punishment to them.

Meanwhile, Hum News, the TV station Yousafzai works for, reported that a complaint about the incident was lodged at the Kohsar police station.

The report was registered under Sections 342 (punishment for wrongful confinement), 452 (house-trespass after preparation for hurt, assault or wrongful restraint), 506 (ii) (criminal intimidation) and 34 (common intention) of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC).

The incident was condemned on social media by members of the public who believe Pakistan has experienced the worst deterioration in the safety of journalists under the incumbent government.

“As I am sure you will understand, this incident has left our family extremely distressed — not just myself but our family as well, who feared for their lives and are now struggling with the after-effects,” people close to Yousafzai told the press.

Asad Umar, secretary general of the opposition Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) party, said “trampling of human rights and threats to journalists have become a norm [under this government].”

This is a “period of worst fascism,” he tweeted.

“Shameless and vile [action],” tweeted Maria Memon, a broadcast journalist associated with ARY News.

A delegation of PTI, including Babar Awan and Ali Nawaz Awan, visited the journalist at her home on Wednesday.

Aurangzeb, the minister, also condemned the event, more than 16 hours after it occurred.

According to the Associated Press of Pakistan, the minister telephoned Yousafzai to express solidarity with Yousafzai and her family. She informed the journalist the police were investigating the incident, and have also been directed to arrest the burglars at the earliest.


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