Journalist escapes murder attempt but driver killed, guard injured
Raza Rumi, a columnist and an anchor for the news show “Khabar Se Agay” of “Express News” was attacked by unidentified armed men on March 28, 2014 at about 8:30pm. The incident took place in Lahore, the capital of Punjab province of Pakistan. The car driver was killed and a security guard sustained serious injuries in attack while journalist remained unhurt. This was the fifth attack on same media group during 2013-14. No one has claimed the responsibility of attack.
The attack took place just a few hundred yards away from the Express News office which Rumi along with his security guard and driver had just left after hosting his programme. When they reached near a private hospital where unidentified men, apparently waiting for him, opened fire on his car.
The driver, identified as Muhammad Mustafa, 25, received eight bullet wounds on different parts of his body, including chest and head. He lost control over the car, resulting in collision with an electric pole. He was rushed to the hospital where he died. The guard received two bullets in his shoulder and is in stable condition.
Condemning the attack, Pakistan Broadcasters Association (PBA) in a press release, demanded that the culprits should be identified and action should be taken against the perpetrators of this crime.
Expressing solidarity with the Express media group, the press release further stated that the increasing threat to journalists and media houses were attempts to prevent the media from performing its responsibilities. The representative body of the broadcasters reiterated its demand to the government to provide protection to all its member broadcasters.
Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors (CPNE) President Mujib-ur-Rehman Shami and Secretary General Dr Jabbar Khattak in a statement demanded the government to immediately arrest the culprits and ensure their speedy trial. They added that the CPNE had been urging the federal and provincial governments to take appropriate measures for the security and safety of the journalists and the media house but no positive results had been taken so far, while the terrorist activities against them were on the rise alarmingly.
Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) and Punjab Union of Journalists (PUJ) condemned the attack and demanded stern action against the attackers. The members of PFUJ and PUJ held protest demonstration on Saturday Mar 29 in front of the Punjab Assembly and chanted slogans against the failure of government to provide safety to media.
Addressing the protest, PFUJ President Rana Azeem said “We stand by Express and announce to stage a one-hour sit-in every day.” He also criticised political parties for not supporting the journalists’ community and said the government had failed to provide foolproof security to media persons. Lahore Press Club’s President Arshad Ansari said terrorists had focused on the media outlet.
On the call of the Rawalpindi-Islamabad Union of Journalists (RIUJ) and the National Press Club (NPC), hundreds of journalists assembled in front of NPC to show solidarity with Raza Rumi and the Express Media Group. They demanded formation of a special investigation committee to probe the attack.
Pakistan Press Foundation