04/21/2021, 15.20
PAKISTAN
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Journalist Absar Alam is hospitalised in stable condition after being shot in Islamabad

by Shafique Khokhar

An unknown attacker shot at the journalist at point blank as he walked in a park near his home, breaking a rib and damaging his liver. He was immediately rushed to hospital for treatment. In a video he said he would continue his struggle. Fellow journalists and government officials expressed solidarity.

Islamabad (AsiaNews) – Senior broadcast journalist Absar Alam is in hospital in serious but stable conditions after he was shot point-blank in Islamabad.

Alam, who is a former president of the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA), was attacked yesterday under mysterious circumstances.

At present, nothing is known about the man responsible for the attack, nor is the motive behind the shooting immediately clear.

Quick medical treatment saved the journalist who suffered a broken rib and damage to his liver.

Shortly after he was shot, Absar Alam, always the consummate reporter, was still able to shoot a video in the ambulance taking him to hospital, which was posted by his colleague Asad Toor.

“I will not lose hope and I am not going to be deterred by such acts,” he said. “I was walking outside my house and someone shot me. This is my message to those who attacked me: I am not one to lose my spirit.”

The attack took place in a park not far from the journalist's home.

Alam worked as a journalist for more than two decades. He also served as PERMA president. In the video he says that an “unidentified” man shot him, and ran away.

Gharidah Farooqi, another journalist who was with Alam at the hospital, said that the mystery  attacker crossed the journalist two or three times when he was walking, before shooting him at close range.

The news of the attack caused deep emotions and expressions of solidarity; initially his death had been reported, eventually denied.

Pakistani Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed Ahmad ordered the Inspector General in Islamabad to open an investigation.

On tweeter, he said, “Those who fired on Absar Alam will not be able to escape the law. They will soon be in the grip of the law.”

Although in his video Alam makes no reference to the possible identity of his attacker or to a motive, some say it might be linked to criticism he directed at the previous government led by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).

Iqbal Masih, a Christian journalist, condemned the attack against a fellow journalist, and called for action to strengthen press freedom in Pakistan, which was once again put to the test.

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