A Pakistani journalist known for his criticism of the country's powerful military and intelligence agencies has been beaten by unidentified attackers in his Islamabad apartment, the journalist and colleagues say.
In a video message released from hospital on May 26, Asad Ali Toor said three people broke into his apartment, gagged him, tied his hands and feet, and beat him with a pistol.
"They ran away when I started screaming," said Toor, who works for a popular show at Pakistani broadcaster Aaj television and runs his own YouTube channel.
Federal Information Minister Chaudhry Fawad Hussain ordered an inquiry into the incident, the latest in the series of assaults against journalists critical of the military since the government of Prime Minister Imran Khan took over in 2018 elections tainted by the army's interference.
In April in Islamabad, a gunman shot and wounded Absar Alam, another prominent media voice known for his critical views of the government and the military's meddling in politics.
The latest attack was widely condemned by journalists and rights activists in Pakistan who demanded the perpetrators be punished.
The independent Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) called the assault “yet another attack on freedom of expression and a free press."
London-based Amnesty International urged Pakistani authorities to “take urgent steps to provide journalists with greater protection, following years of spiralling threats, intimidation and attacks against media workers in Pakistan."
Although Pakistan’s government insists it supports freedom of speech, journalists, and press freedom advocates accuse Pakistan’s military and other security agencies of harassing and attacking journalists.