In a letter sent to the Pakistani Minister of the Interior, Lieutenant General Moin-ud-din Haider, Reporters sans frontières (RSF-Reporters Without Borders) protested against the mugging of Tariq Swati, a PTV public television channel cameraman, by militants of the Hazara Qaumi Mahaz (HQM) Party that supports President Pervez Musharraf. "It has to be admitted that this violent mugging, which occurred on the very day of the referendum on the prolongation of General Musharraf’s mandate, contradicts the Head of State’s remarks on the exemplary holding of the referendum", declared Robert Ménard, RSF’s General Secretary. The organisation for the defence of press freedom asked the minister of the Interior to do everything in his power so that the first information report filed by Tariq Swati is followed up and the perpetrators of this mugging arrested.
According to the information obtained by RSF, Tariq Swati, a PTV public television channel cameraman, escaped a murder attempt on
30 April 2002 by militants of Hazara Qaumi Mahaz (HQM) in front of a polling station in Abbottabad (North-West Frontier Province of Pakistan). The cameraman was kicked and thumped by militants accusing him of not filming enough of the action by sympathisers of President Pervez Musharraf. One of the aggressors even threatened the cameraman, already on the ground, with a revolver. Other journalists and militants from opposition parties had to intervene to stop the journalist being shot dead. Doctors diagnosed a kidney wound. A First Information Report has been lodged but, for the time being, the police has not made any arrests.
Journalists’ organisations in Abbottabad are taking action to obtain the arrest of the perpetrators of this mugging. According to Sardar Abrar Rashid, President of the Hazara Union of Journalists, the activists used extreme violence against the journalist.