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
“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
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