Journalist’s house and car vandalized in Pakistan

Three unidentified men attacked the residence of an investigative reporter for the private news channel DawnNews TV, in the Pakistani capital city of Islamabad, on January 19, 2010 according to local news reports.

The men threw stones at the house of journalist Azaz Syed in the early hours of Tuesday morning, Dawn newspaper reported on its Web site. The men also smashed his car before departing, the report said. Syed and his family were unhurt.

Syed was working on an investigative report on military action in violent areas and had criticized the local armed forces in previous reports, according to a statement by the news channel. “I have no idea who the attackers were, but suspect that an intelligence agency was behind the incident,” the reporter was quoted as saying by Dawn News TV.

In a letter written after the attack to the president and prime minister of Pakistan, DawnNews TV said the harassment was part of a trend. “Officials who identified themselves as being from a secret agency” had questioned Azaz Syed and a colleague, Matiullah Jan, twice in the past about a story they were working on together, the letter said, according to a passage reproduced in the Nation newspaper on January 20.

Syed lodged a complaint with the local police, according to news reports. Journalists who were covering the National Assembly, the lower house of the Pakistani parliament, walked out of an assembly session in protest and demanded the arrest of those responsible for the attack, the reports said. Interior Minister Rehman Malik ordered an inquiry into the attack, according to the reports.