The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is
extremely concerned by acts of violence and intimidation targeting journalists
in Pakistan’s North-West Frontier Province,
after the family homes of two journalists were bombed by militant insurgents.
According to the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists
(PFUJ), an IFJ affiliate, 50 hooded militants connected to groups linked under
the banner of the Taliban approached the house of Rehman Buneri, a Voice of America Deewa
Radio reporter and
Karachi bureau chief of AVT Khyber Television,
on July 8 and warned his family that they had been told to raze the building.
Buneri’s house is located in Polad village near the border
of Swat Valley and Buner districts.
A militant reportedly told Buneri’s father that the
instruction to destroy the property came from “high command” as punishment for
an alleged smear campaign against the Taliban which was broadcast on radio by Buneri.
All family members were evacuated before the attackers looted and bombed the
In a separate incident on July 8,
GEO TV Peshawar correspondent Behroz Khan reported his ancestral house in the village of Bilo Khan,
near Pir Baba, was raided by militants.
They stole valuables before setting the house on fire and using explosives to
blow up the building’s supporting pillars. Security officers reportedly
witnessed the event but did not intervene.
Further, in early July, the home of Hafiz Wazir, one of the few
journalists still living and working in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas
(FATA), was damaged in a bombing raid as the war in the Wana tribal area intensified.
The President of the Khyber Union of Journalists (KhUJ), Muhammad Riaz, said a delegation of the Tribal Union
of Journalists (TUJ) met officials of the Federal Government in June to raise
their concerns about security for media in the area, and a tribal commission
has since been set up by the Government to assess damages to the homes of media
personnel in FATA. The TUJ has urged the Government to pay compensation to those
whose homes or property have been damaged as a result of the war.
The PFUJ, the
Khyber Union of Journalists and the Peshawar Press Club all expressed concern
over the increasing incidence of attacks against journalists for their
reporting of the battle between militants and Pakistan’s security forces.
“Over two dozen journalists have already lost their lives at
the hands of the militants yet the entire society,
human rights activists, political
parties, media owners and the Government
are playing the role of silent spectators,”
the PFUJ said.
The IFJ joins the PFUJ and its affiliate unions in calling on Pakistan’s
Government and authorities to ensure the perpetrators of violence against
journalists are brought to account,
and to provide every security precaution and protection measure to journalists
who continue to report on the conflict at serious risk to their personal
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