IFJ Calls for Safety Education after Journalist Killed in Pakistan Blast

The International

Federation of Journalists (IFJ) urges media personnel and their employers to undertake

urgent measures to ensure safe reporting in Pakistan,

after one journalist was among 39 people killed in a double-bomb blast in Peshawar on June 11.


Asfandyar Khan, who had recently

joined the daily Akhbar-i-Khyber, was

killed in a suicide blast at the Khyber Super Market just before midnight, as

rescue workers and media teams went to investigate a low-intensity blast about

eight minutes earlier in a building housing Lala Restaurant in Peshawar’s military cantonment area.



is the fifth journalist reported killed in Pakistan in 2011 in relation to his work.  


Eight other media personnel were reportedly

among the more than 100 people injured: sub-editor Barkatullah Marwat, Mohammad

Tufail and Shafiullah Khan, of The News;

cameraman Hashim Ali, of AVT Khyber; reporters Shahryar and Riaz, of Akhbar-i-Khyber; andDunya News bureau chief Safiullah Gul Mehsud and reporter Imran




Khan, a trainee reporter from North Waziristan

who had recently completed a Masters in journalism, is reported to be in a

critical condition.


“The IFJ urges all media outlets to

ensure their personnel are fully informed about the frequent recourse to the

double-blast strategy, whereby an explosion is set off shortly after another to

maximise the damage caused to the first responders, including journalists. This

awareness should be part of urgent education and precautions for safe

reporting,” IFJ Asia-Pacific

Director Jacqueline Park said.


The attack came a day after the

Government of Pakistan failed to meet a June 10 deadline, set by the Pakistan

Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ), to establish a judicial commission to

investigate the abduction and murder of journalist Syed Saleem Shahzad in late



While the Government had earlier

indicated it would set up the commission, the June 10 deadline passed without



The PFUJ, an IFJ affiliate, has

called on journalists from across Pakistan

to assemble in Islamabad

on June 15 to hold a 24-hour sit-in outside the Parliament to demand a

commission, headed by a Supreme Court judge, be set up immediately.


Shahzad’s beaten body was found

about 150km southeast of Islamabad

on May 31. He disappeared in Islamabad

on May 29, two days after he published on Asia

Times Online an investigative report into alleged links between Al-Qaeda

and Pakistani naval officials.


The IFJ joined the PFUJ in

condemning the attack in Peshawar

and again called for the Government to initiate a high-level and transparent inquiry

into Shahzad’s murder and for media employers to undertake all necessary

measures to protect their personnel.


The Khyber Union of Journalists, an

affiliate of the PFUJ, noted the Peshawar

attack was the second such incident in the past month in an area where many

news media outlets are located. On May 10, tribal journalist Nasrullah Afridi

was killed in a blast detonated by a bomb planted in his car at the market.


The union reported that employees of

media offices near the market have repeatedly asked their managements to relocate

offices after several outlets received threats of attack. 


Meanwhile, the PFUJ has expressed

concern for the safety of two camera operators who have received threats since

reporting on two separate incidents in different provinces.


Abdul Salam Soomro, of Awaz TV,

recorded paramilitary rangers killing unarmed Sarfaraz Shah, 22, in Karachi on June 8. Dawn newspaper reported the widely

viewed footage showed Shah pleading for his life as a ranger cocked his rifle

and then shot him in a local park.


Jamal Tarkai, a Quetta-based

journalist, recorded an incident in Balochistan province on May 17 in which

police and Frontier Corps killed five foreigners said to be Chechen nationals,

including three women, at a check-point in Kharotabad, near Quetta.


Correction: Asfandyar Khan's name should be recorded as Asfandyar

Abid Naveed.


For further

information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific

on +61 2 9333 0919



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