Police have launched an investigation into the attack on singer-turned-evangelist Junaid Jamshed, who was assaulted by a group of angry men at the Benazir Bhutto International Airport on Saturday night.
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According to police, Mr Jamshed had just arrived on a flight from Karachi around midnight when he was accosted by a group of men as he emerged from the arrival lounge.
A video of the attack that was widely shared on social media showed the men attacking and verbally abusing Mr Jamshed. Police said the attackers were also on board the same flight as Mr Jamshed and began shouting abuses at him as they came out of the lounge. The angry mob resorted to punching and kicking him even as he tried to escape. His wife, who had come to the airport to receive him, panicked and called for the police. In the video, Mr Jamshed can be seen retreating towards the lounge as he is pursued by the small mob. He was finally rescued when he took shelter in the nearby office of the deputy terminal manager. “We have been looking for you,” one of the attackers can be heard saying in the footage.
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“Punch him, punch him,” exclaims another as they pounce on him. However, the attackers managed to flee the scene before a police party reached the scene. The victim was then brought to the airport police post, where he filed a complaint against the unidentified attackers. In his complaint, Mr Jamshed said he had been attacked by a group of six to seven men when he arrived from Karachi on PIA flight PK372 around 11:30pm. But the investigating officer told Dawn that Mr Jamshed had not followed up on his complaint yet, despite promising to get back to them by Sunday afternoon. “We cannot proceed further without his cooperation,” he said.
He said the victim was not hurt in the attack, nor could he help identify any of the attackers, making the allegations leveled in the complaint non-cognisable. The IO said Mr Jamshed was given a police escort to his residence in the capital. However, in a statement issued on Sunday night, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan reacted sharply to the treatment meted out to the former pop star. “No one can be allowed to take the law into their own hands and intolerant behaviour should be discouraged at all levels,” the statement quoted him as saying. The minister has also directed the police to get in touch with Mr Jamshed himself and register a case.
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Mr Jamshed faced blasphemy accusations in December 2014 when the Sunni Tehreek complained about one of his televised sermons, where he had reportedly used derogatory language for one of the wives of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him). He then had to publicly apologise and released a video where he asked for forgiveness. It is likely that the attack on Mr Jamshed at Islamabad airport was also connected to the same incident, as his attackers appeared to taunt him about those remarks in the video.