WPK Pakistani TV show host-1645026980339
Iqrar Ul Hassan, under treatment at a Karachi's hospital, after allegedly being tortured at Intelligence Bureau's office. Image Credit: Supplied

Karachi: Five officials belonging to the Intelligence Bureau (IB) of Pakistan have been suspended from service for their alleged involvement in torturing and illegal confinement of a well-known TV anchorperson and members of his TV show’s team.

TV presenter Iqrar Ul Hassan and his colleagues associated with the ARY News channel allegedly were tortured and illegally confined at the IB’s main office in Karachi. Hassan enjoys celebrity status in Pakistan as the host of the famous ‘Sar-e-Aam’ (In the Open) show of ARY News. Video clips and pictures of a battered Iqrar Ul Hassan after the incident went viral on social media causing concern among his fans.

The current affairs show mostly uses undercover journalism techniques to expose wrongdoings and corrupt practices prevalent in the government departments and public sector organisations to protect the rights of the public and to save them from exploitation and fleecing. His show draws a large viewership and has inspired other TV news channels to launch similar programmes that also conduct sting operations to expose anti-social elements.

The five IB officials who were suspended include a director, a sub-inspector, a head constable, and two stenotypists.

Video evidence

Hassan while appearing on ARY News after the incident said he had gone to the IB’s office to expose one of its officials against whom video evidence was recorded showing his involvement in taking a bribe from a family for verification for a work related to National Database & Registration Authority (NADRA).

The TV show host said he had full respect for the state institutions as he never thought to take any deliberate step to undermine their prestige and honour as his act was only meant to bring to fore the misconduct of just one official.

He said he had reached the IB’s main office in Karachi after video evidence was recorded showing the official in question had received the third and final instalment of a bribe from the complainant for verifying his case for the NADRA’s work.

He told ARY News he had entered the IB’s office without breaching any security arrangements just to show the video evidence to the superiors of the guilty official.

Hassan said recordings made by the closed-circuit television cameras would fully prove his account of the incident that severely endangered his own life and that of his colleagues during the illegal confinement that continued for around three-and-half hours.