FIA team attempts to enter Jang, The News offices

Workers prevent team from entering building; peaceful protest staged against action; journalists, trade union workers condemn raid attempt

By our correspondent

LAHORE: The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) attempted to enter the offices of Jang Group of Newspapers here at Davis Road on Friday night, in an apparent attempt to harass staff and possibly seal the offices.

The FIA team, consisting of about eight persons, parked their vehicle some way off from the building and then arrived at the offices of the Group, housing both The News and Jang. They wished to enter the premises, and 'check' various matters. However, senior members of the editorial staff spoke to the team, while the gates were shut-off to avoid any untoward incident.

On hearing news of the incident, many workers of the group also rushed to the building gates and resisted any attempt to enter the building, given the absence of orders of any kind. The raiding team left soon after the incident

However, after the first failed attempt, the FIA officials made another attempt, but charged up workers resisted peacefully, forcing the FIA officials to flee from the scene.

Workers also kept a vigil at the building till late into the night, to ensure no further action was attempted.

Soon after the raids, workers and senior staff members from Jang, The News, Awaz and other departments of the Group, including press workers, staged a protest on the road outside the building. They raised slogans against Senator Saifur Rehman and his actions, and for the freedom of press.

They also vowed to protect the freedom of press at all costs. The protest was also joined by the President of the Lahore Press Club, Syed Saqlain Imam, who arrived at the offices on hearing of the raid.

The news of the FIA raids at the Jang offices in fact spread like a jungle fire through the City, drawing dozens of journalists from other newspapers, who also gathered outside the Jang building to show their solidarity for the Group against the government victimisation campaign. Various calls were also received at the Groups' offices from editors, journalists, trade union leaders and others to condemn the harassment being carried out and the drive against the Group.

There were also reports that law enforcing agencies would set up pickets to check on Group workers late into the night.

The News International Pakistan