Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is alarmed at spiralling violence across Pakistan
which sees media personnel killed while reporting from the country’s
lesser-known conflict zones, with news of two television journalists killed in
a suicide bombing in the country’s north-west tribal area on December 6.
Abdul Wahab, of Express News, and
Pervez Khan, of WAQT TV, were among 50 people at a government building in
Ghalanai, Mohmand Agency, in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas in the
country’s north-west who were killed in the double blast. The purported leader
of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan
claimed responsibility, Pakistan’s
Daily Times reported.
Another 100 people, including
journalist Mohab Ali Mohmand, were injured in the attack in which two suicide
bombers disguised as policemen targeted a tribal meeting of a peace committee
of Alizai and Safi
tribes at the office of Roshan Khan Mehsud, the Daily Times reported. The meeting was called to devise a strategy
against terrorism in the tribal region.
Wahab and Khan were preparing a
report on the plight of displaced people at the time of the attack, according
to Mohmand Press Club President Shakirullah Jan.
“The IFJ condemns this attack in the
strongest possible terms – too often, extreme violence is claiming the lives of
working journalists in Pakistan,”
IFJ Asia-Pacific Director Jacqueline
“The IFJ sends its condolences to
the families and colleagues of Abdul Wahab and Pervez Khan, whose deaths are
another horrific loss to Pakistan’s
media community, coming only one day after the murder of journalist Altaf
Chandio in Sindh province on December 5.”
According to IFJ affiliate the
Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ), the attack killed and
injured tribal elders, policemen, political officials and other civilians. The
media casualties are the first in Mohmand Agency’s ongoing conflict, the PFUJ
The IFJ joins with the PFUJ in
calling for employers to take responsibility for ensuring their personnel are
trained and equipped for working in Pakistan’s many volatile and
dangerous situations. Employers must provide adequate safety training and
equipment, life insurance schemes and assistance to families.
Wahab, aged in his mid-30s and from Dara Village
in Haleemzai Tehsil of the Mohmand Agency had worked as a journalist for more
than a decade and had also served as General Secretary of the Ghalanai Press Club.
He leaves two daughters and a wife.
Khan, aged about 28, was from Mula
Mandi area in Haleemzai Tehsil and leaves behind four children and a wife.
Wahab and Khan were irregular
employees, paid meagre wages that could barely sustain their families.
The IFJ supports the PFUJ’s demand
that the country’s parliamentarians immediately devise a Media
Practitioners' Protection and Media Managers Responsibilities' Act to help
protect the lives of media personnel.
The PFUJ will observe three days of
mourning, with the hoisting of black flags and condolence meetings planned for
press clubs, offices of local affiliated unions of journalists and at news
centres throughout the country.
Pakistan is one of the most
dangerous countries for journalists, with 14 journalists and media workers
killed in the course of their work in 2010, including this week’s deaths.
information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific
on +612 9333 0919
represents more than 600,000 journalists in 125 countries
IFJ on Twitter: @ifjasiapacific
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