Yet again, the unknown and unidentified attacked a journalist in Islamabad and managed to flee. Thousands of CCTV cameras and the entire vigilance system amounting to a worth of PK Rs 12 billion could not trace the ‘unknown’ and ‘unidentified’ assailants who attacked reporter Ahmad Noorani. The police report says that Noorani was intercepted and attacked by unidentified assailants in Islamabad’s Zero Point area on the last Friday morning while he was on way to his office. The six attackers were on motorcycles, two of which did not have number plates. Some have termed it the result of his bold investigative reporting that has brought out the ‘inside stories’ of different conflicting political engagement and confrontation of the state institutions and influential individuals. Soon after the incident, the people started defining the ‘unknown’ and ‘unidentified’ persons very elaborately by connecting the logical reasons that could be the causes behind the assault. Some also argued that the attack on Ahmad Noorani was an attempt to create confrontation between the state institutions. Renowned anchor and journalist Syed Talat Hussain has asked the ‘experts’ and ‘intellectuals’ to stop blaming institutions and wait for the facts to appear. We shall wait for the actualities to come forth and so the ‘unknown’ persons who are disrupting the entire systems and society since the inception of the country can be exposed. However, many such incidents have taken place in the past, but no inquiry committee or commission could expose the ‘unknowns’ as yet. Despite the fact that everyone knows the motive behind the attack, we will wait for the inquiry committees to give their verdict. The reports of such committee are hardly made public, and the perpetrators remain unknown. Despite the fact that everyone knows the motive behind the attack, we will wait for the inquiry committees to give their verdict. The reports of such committee are hardly made public, and the perpetrators remain unknown In my opinion, different point of views from the experts or the general public do not build up or enhance confrontation between the state institutions, as the institutions are good enough to do it at their convenience by encroaching their spheres of mandate. The tug of war among the state institutions is not new; it has a history of 70 years. Public debate on such incidents does not create confrontation. Everyone has the same opinion that the brutal attack by the ‘unknown’ persons on the Islamabad-based senior journalist Ahmad Noorani will not be the last attack on the freedom of expression in Pakistan. The attacks on the basis of difference have seen an increase in the recent years. Several hundred journalists have been wounded in attacks by ‘unknown’ attackers in Pakistan in the last over two decades while a 2016 report of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) declared Pakistan as a fourth deadliest country for the journalists with 115 killings by the year 2015. The top three deadliest countries include Iraq standing on the top with 309 killings followed by Philippines (146), and Mexico (120). Free media is the basic of realistic information that a society needs, in order to be vibrant and dynamic in taking decisions of vital importance. The presence of alternative views promote democratic values — the essentials for a more tolerant and groomed society. But unfortunately, the space for difference of opinion is shrinking that is leading our society to anarchic situations. From individuals to the state institutions, we have all been guilty of taking away others’ space and mandate. Sometimes we do it by hook or by crook, and feel offended when taken to task and put every effort in to punish the whistle-blower. The writer is an Islamabad-based policy advocacy, strategic communication and outreach expert. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. He tweets @EmmayeSyed Published in Daily Times, October 31st 2017.