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Pakistani police storm television station

  • Story Highlights
  • Police say they had orders "from the highest authority" to take equipment
  • News director: Police said "We'll do it the nice way or the other way"
  • Government warns of jail, fines if president or prime minister are criticized
  • Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf: Media have "added insult to injury"
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ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (CNN) -- Less than a day after Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf declared a state of emergency and scolded the country's media for being too "negative," police stormed the offices of a television station early Sunday, AAJ-TV's director of news and current affairs said.

Pakistani policemen patrol the streets of Islamabad, Pakistan, Saturday.

Armed with guns, the two dozen police said they had orders to take the station's equipment, including a van that the station uses to broadcast live coverage, Talat Hussain said.

"We resisted," Hussain said. "We said show us the papers."

The police didn't have proof their demands were legitimate, he said, adding the officers said only that they had orders "from the highest authority."

"They said, 'We'll do it the nice way or the other way,' " Hussain said.

A brief scuffle between the policemen and about 40 journalists in the station followed, but no one was hurt, he said.

During the confrontation, two AAJ journalists were able to drive the news van away from the station, Hussain said.

Police later left the building, but remained outside, Hussain said.

The raid followed a government directive to the media, warning journalists that any criticism of the president or prime minister would be punishable by three years in jail and a fine of up to $70,000, Hussain said.

Earlier, in a Saturday night televised address to the Pakistani public aimed at explaining why he had declared a countrywide state of emergency and suspended the constitution, Musharraf was critical of the country's media, saying they had "added insult to injury."

"The media could not lend a helping hand to improve the situation," Musharraf said, describing "the situation" in Pakistan as fraught with tension and constrained by the spread of terrorism.

"I said frequently that the media should not be negative," Musharraf said.

Shortly after private networks reported Saturday that Musharraf's declaration of a state of emergency was imminent, most media channels went off the air in an apparent blackout, although some flickered off and on. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

All About PakistanPervez Musharraf

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