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Imran Khan halts long march after TV reporter crushed to death under his container

Sadaf Naeem was a dynamic and hardworking reporter. We pray for patience for the family of the deceased, said Pakistan PM Shehbaz Sharif.

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New Delhi: Pakistani journalist Sadaf Naeem died Sunday after allegedly getting crushed under former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s container during his party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s long march in Lahore.

According to Geo TV, the ill-fated incident occurred when Naeem, who was reporting for Channel Five, came under PTI leader’s container while it was headed toward Kamoke from GT Road Lahore.

Dawn reported that the journalist fell from the container and came under it.

Omar R Quraishi, former media adviser to Pakistan foreign minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said, “TV reporter Sadaf Naeem covering Imran Khan’s Long March fell from the container and was crushed to death under its wheels”.

According to Dawn, PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry confirmed the development, saying that a female media personnel was killed and that Imran had himself got off the vehicle to inspect the incident while Rescue 1122 was alerted as well.

“We are not 100 per cent sure about the identity but the reports are very bad,” Chaudhry was quoted as saying before the Dawn report confirmed the journalist’s identity.

The report said that Chaudhry requested the public to take caution while walking along Imran’s container, adding that the lives of all people contributing to the march were “precious and respected”.

Expressing “shock” over the “terrible incident”, Imran Khan said he had no words to express his sorrow and extended his condolences to the family of the deceased reporter. He announced on Twitter that the march was being cancelled for the day.

“Shocked & deeply saddened by the terrible accident that led to the death of Channel 5 reporter Sadaf Naeem during our March today. I have no words to express my sorrow. My prayers & condolences go to the family at this tragic time. We have cancelled our March for today,” former Pakistan PM said in a tweet.

The march was halted at GT Road and Khan came out of the container after the incident, reported Geo TV.

In a video shared by PTI on Twitter, Khan is seen telling PTI supporters, “I say this with utmost regret that we have to postpone this (the march) because of an accident today. We pray for the patience and strength of the woman’s family to deal with the tragedy.”

Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif also shared his grief and regret on Twitter.

Extending his condolences to Naeem’s family, Sharif wrote: “Deeply saddened by the death of reporter Sadaf Naeem after falling from a long march container. There is little to be regretted for the sad incident. Heartfelt condolences to the family. Sadaf Naeem was a dynamic and hardworking reporter. We pray for patience for the family of the deceased.”

Chaudhry also took to Twitter to share his thoughts, “I have rarely seen a more courageous and hardworking reporter than Sadaf, a brave girl, after an interview with Imran Khan yesterday, when Sadaf was introduced as the most brave and hardworking reporter in Lahore, her eyes lit up. This meeting will be the last one, God bless you.”

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