The ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) party on Wednesday suspended a member of its leadership in Sindh province until further notice for physically assaulting a journalist during a live news talk show over the weekend.
Naeemul Haque, a top spokesman for Prime Minister Imran Khan, denounced Siyal’s “violent reaction” via Twitter on Wednesday.
“This kind of behavior is unacceptable in PTI and is unworthy of a PTI Leader,” he added.
Haque vowed that “strict disciplinary action” will be taken against the PTI leader from Sindh, Masroor Ali Siyal, who attacked Karachi Press Club (KPC) President Imtiaz Khan Faran.
Pakistan’s Dawn newspaper reports that the PTI issued a notice demanding that Siyal provide a reason for attacking the journalist.
The notice reportedly states:
Your behavior has badly damaged the reputation of the party and created an uproar in the journalist community. You are hereby given a show cause notice to explain your position within 14 days of issuance of this letter, as to why action should not be taken against you in line with the Party Constitution.
Siyal and Faran did continue their debate after the brawl, a video of the incident that has gone viral shows. Faran, however, is reportedly heard warning Siyal he would file charges over the incident.
In the wake of the assault, KPC and the Lahore Press Club (LPC) reportedly instituted a temporary ban on the entry of PTI leaders in their premises.
“The [club] felt that the series of incidents of organized violence against journalists and journalist bodies on part of the PTI proves that all of this is being done according to a well thought out policy,” KPC said in a statement.
“Direct attacks against journalists by Fayyaz Chohan, Fawad Chaudhry and now Masroor Siyal prove that the PTI wants to pen a new history of fascism in the country and it has become a norm to threaten every force that becomes the voice of the people,” LPC added.
The notice notes that the party has referred Siyal’s case to the Standing Committee for Accountability and Discipline for disciplinary action for violating party rules.