The savage assault on cameraman Syed Wajid Ali of Samaa TV by a security guard from former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s protocol, right outside Parliament House was a shocking incident. Not only in its brutality – Wajid Ali’s head stomped on with great force while he was already on the ground – but in the nonchalance with which the security details resorted to violence in pursuance of their job.

It did not matter to the security guard that there were dozens of cameras pointed at him, or that he was outside the Parliament’s premises or even that his actions could lead to a public relations disaster for his apparent employer, Nawaz Sharif. Add on top of this the fact that his kick could have led to serious and permanent head injury, and maybe even death, and the true viciousness of this wonton act of violence becomes clear.

The perpetrator of this act should be arrested and tried for assault; these actions cannot be explained under the rubric of self-defence or the use of “reasonable force” in the dispatch of one’s duties. The Pakistan Muslim League - Nawaz (PML-N) has promised that it will “take strict action” but any form of castigation short of legal action will not be enough. The PML-N has always struggled to shed its image as party of rural elites who are often heavy-handed with their use of force; it must make sure it takes the right steps to redress this wrong.

The prompt action of National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser, who immediately ordered that a first information report (FIR) be registered against the attacker and banned politicians from bringing their security guards inside the parliament’s premises in the future, must be appreciated. Journalists, and journalism at large, need to be protected and fostered, and it is in the interest of the prime democratic institute to ensure that it is.