Exclusive: Sar-e-Aam exposes lies about Sindh Assembly sting operation
The evidences shown in the program dismissed claims that anchorperson Iqrar-ul-Hasan facilitated his team member, Kamran Farooqui to bring a weapon inside the assembly hall, nor did he benefit personally from the episode using his reputation of a famed journalist.
A few of private news channels had alleged that Hasan conducted a sting operation which failed miserably and it was a violation of journalistic norms and ethics. They also accused him of using his influence to bring the armed man violating the sanctity of the institution.
It was previously noticed by various journalists frequenting the assembly that security procedures at the assembly were inadequate and vehicles could easily enter without much questioning. The walk-in security gates, CCTV cameras and other security apparatus was insufficient to prevent any major incident.
The historical Sindh Assembly is among the most sensitive buildings in the city and poor security cover makes it a soft target for terrorists.
Since it is the duty of the government to protect all public places and it would not make much difference if the operation was conducted at some park or hospital, contended Iqrar. Therefore, Sar-e-Aam decided to conduct the operation at the Sindh Assembly.
It sent its team member, Kamran Farooqui into the assembly, who presented a ‘gift’ of two perfumes to the security in-charge Imtiaz Lashari. Knowing that Farooqui also hailed from Mirpurkhas, Lashari allowed him to sit in the assembly hall for over an hour.
On the day of the session, Farooqui entered the assembly building with a concealed fireman, and crossed into the walk-through gates undetected by the metal detectors. Hasan did not accompany him or facilitated his entry into the building which is also evident from CCTV footage.
Prior to the session, Hasan sent a message to Deputy Speaker Shehla Raza, who was presiding over the session, saying that he had something important to say but received a not-so-positive reply. He even met MPA Kulsoom Chandio and greeted her. Later, she was the first to raise accusations against him.
It is clearly seen that Iqrar entered the assembly hall while his team-member Kamran Farooqui had already been seated there. The session was now being presided by Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani. Also present in the hall was Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah.
After a few minutes, Hasan entered the main hall stating he had some information regarding the security situation and that there was an armed man inside. Durrani asserted that only elected representative can speak inside the assembly and the anchorperson was pulled away to get back to the visitor’s gallery.
Opposition Leader Khawaja Izhar-ul-Hasan sensed something important and came to speak to Hasan. Many considered it a conspiracy being hatched by them.
Later, Farooqui took out his gun shocking everyone present in the assembly hall and handed it over to Hasan who sent it over to the main dais of the Speaker.
Interior Minister Sindh Sohail Anwer Siyal instead of ordering an inquiry to ascertain the reasons for the security lapse directed for arrest of Iqrar and his team member. However, the truth has been unveiled to silence all opponents who objected to the sting operation.
Later, Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani admitted that there were certain breaches and lapses and security was eventually beefed up outside the Sindh Assembly.