Pak: Newspaper editor beaten up for watching TV
Islamabad: An editor of one of Pakistan's leading English dailies was beaten up by four men outside his home in the port city of Karachi for watching TV and listening to music.
Though the incident occurred on August 27 and Zainul Abedin, op-ed editor of The News daily, reported the matter to police, no action has been taken by authorities so far, journalists in Karachi said.
The men who attacked the journalist are members of a proselytising group.
According to Abedin, four men kicked open the gate of his house in the in Gulshan-e-Iqbal area at 11 pm (local time) on August 27 and began to abuse him.
When Abedin went to the gate to talk to the men, he was surrounded and grabbed.
One of the men objected to Abedin watching TV and listening to qawwalis.
When he asked them who they were and why objected to whatever a person did in the privacy of his home, one of the men reportedly said: "We do have a problem with these things but we will solve your problem today."
The men beat Abedin and one of them punched him on the face and broke his glasses.
As they kicked and slapped Abedin, the men warned they would not let him go unless he repented and said he would not watch TV or listen to music.
The men attempted to follow Abedin into his house, where he lives with his sister, but he closed the gate.
They went away but threatened him as they left.
The men warned Abedin not to turn on his TV or listen to songs and qawwalis.
The men reportedly live behind Abedin's home and were known in the neighbourhood for their "puritanical ways and their disdain" towards anyone who watches TV and listens to music, The News reported.
They were also known to go from house to house in the name of the Tableeghi Jamaat, a proselytising group, and urge people to give up their "sinful" ways.
Abedin filed a complaint at the police station in Gulshan-e-Iqbal but no action has been taken so far.
The News said in a report that the incident "draws attention to a disturbing phenomenon".
It added: "The attitude and action of such elements should be unacceptable not only for the direct victims of their threats and intimidation but also to those worried about the rise of extremism in our midst. The lack of police action so far can only embolden such zealots."
Ironically, several senior reporters and columnists of The News have often been accused of being sympathetic towards right wing elements and hardline religious groups.