Ayaz Amir shows signs of bruises under his eye after he was assaulted while on his way from a talk show. Image Credit: Supplied

Islamabad: Pakistan’s civil society, media representative bodies, journalists, government and opposition leaders have unanimously condemned the assault on veteran journalist, columnist and TV analyst Ayaz Amir, calling the attack a shameful, cowardly act.

Amir, who is associated with a private TV channel, Dunya News, was assaulted by unidentified men in Lahore Friday night while he was returning after participating in a talk show.

A day earlier, Ayaz Amir was in the news when he addressed a ceremony organised by the Islamabad High Court Bar on ‘Regime Change and its Fallout on Pakistan’. In his speech Amir had criticised the land mafia of the country for influencing the successive governments.

Former Prime Minister and Chairman of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Imran Khan was also present in the audience and Amir had addressed him saying he too had failed to deliver during his three-and-a-half years government.

The news of the attack on Ayaz Amir spread fast in the media, and netizens denounced it in strong words.

In his speech that is viral on social media Amir also criticised the role of the country’s military establishment and its alleged tacit interference in the affairs of the government.

Case registered

The Punjab government, taking notice of the incident, sent the Lahore police chief to the office of the TV channel to record Ayaz Amir’s statement.

A case has been registered on the complaint of Amir and the police investigation is underway, a senior Punjab police officer said.

Amir, with bruises on his face, recorded his statement according to which on the way back from the TV studio, his car was intercepted by a vehicle and a man wearing a face mask emerged from the vehicle and held his driver by the collar.

“As I asked the man who he was and why he was doing that, a couple of other men also arrived there and opened the door of my car. They hit me in the face, tore my clothes and dragged me out of the vehicle,” Ayaz Amir said.

He said the men also assaulted him on the road. Since it was a crowded road, people began gathering and the attackers left them there and fled the site. However, while leaving they took his mobile phone and wallet, he added.

PM directs high-level inquiry

Immediately, after the news of the attack on Ayaz Amir, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif took to Twitter and said attacks on media persons were unacceptable.

“On my directions, the Punjab Chief Minister has ordered a high-level inquiry into the sad incident to bring perpetrators to justice,” said the prime minister on his official Twitter handle.

Imran Khan also condemned the “violence” against the senior journalist.

Punjab Chief Minister Hamza Shehbaz also took notice of the assault and sought a report from the inspector general of the Punjab police. In a statement, he said the attackers would be arrested and dealt with soon.

“The incident is highly condemnable. The dispensation of justice in the case will be ensured,” the chief minister added.