Two journalists dead, one injured in twin suicide blasts
Two tribal journalists, Abdul Wahab reporter “Express News” TV channel and Pervez Khan, reporter “Daily Nawa-i-Waqt” and “Waqt News” TV channel along with 50 other persons were killed and 120 injured in two suicide blasts in front of the office of Political Agent in Ghalanai, headquarters of tribal district of Mohmand Agency, in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan bordering Afghanistan, on Monday, December 6, 2010. Another journalist, Mohib Ali of ”NNI” news agency, was injured. The journalists were in the compound to cover a ”jirga”, council convened by local authorities, to discuss an anti-Taliban strategy.
According to press reports, Wahab 35 and Khan, 28, were present at the office of assistant political agent when the two suicide attackers blew themselves up in the midst of a large crowd of people including tribal elders and volunteers of peace committees. According to details the two suicide bombers came near the office of Political Agent Amjad Ali Khan on motorbikes. The first blew himself up inside the office, while the second one set off explosives when guards caught him in the compound of the office.
Amjad Ali Khan, Political Agent, the top political official in Mohmand agency said that the suicide bombers were dressed in paramilitary uniforms. One of the reasons the attacks were so deadly, he said, was because the bombers had filled their suicide jackets with bullets. He said it was prayers’ time and some people had gone to the mosque otherwise, the casualty figure would have been much higher.
The blast badly damaged the agency administration offices and the adjacent buildings. Soon after the blast heavy contingents of security forces and personnel of Khasadar Force rushed to the site and cordoned off the area. The injured were rushed to Agency Headquarter Hospital and Lady Reading Hospital Peshawar.
Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed the responsibility for the attack and termed it a reaction to the military operation in Teshil Safi area of Mohmand Agency. Taliban leader Umer Khalid also threatened more attacks on anyone joining military operations against them.
Khan has left two sons, two daughters and a wife behind him. Wahab was a former general secretary of Ghalanai Press Club. He has left behind a widow and two daughters. The injured journalist Ali was admitted in Peshawar hospital, he received injuries in his hand, abdomen and back.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor Owais Ahmed Ghani, Chief Minister Ameer Haider Khan Hoti and Provincial Information Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain condemned the suicide blasts and termed them inhuman acts of terrorism.
Editor Nawa-i-Waqt and Editor-in-Chief Daily The Nation, Majid Nizami and the staff members of the media Group have expressed their sorrow and grief over the death of Khan.
After the death of two journalists in twin suicide blasts at Ghalanai, Mohmand Agency, the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) on Monday reiterated its demand that the parliamentarians immediately devise a Media Practitioners’ Protection and Media Managers Responsibilities’ Act to protect lives of media men.
The PFUJ announced it would observe three-day mourning, hoist black flags and hold condolence meetings at press clubs, offices of affiliated Unions of Journalists and at news centres throughout the country.
The PFUJ also demanded that victims’ families be compensated forthwith. The PFUJ demanded of the government to take notice of criminal negligence of media owners which caused the death Wahab and Khan, and they should be booked in consonance with the provisions of the Pakistan Penal Code.
Tribal Union of Journalists (TUJ), National Press Club Islamabad and press clubs of Lahore, Peshawar, Karachi and Quetta also paid tribute to the martyred journalists. The TUJ president Ibrahim Shinwari said that journalists, especially in the tribal areas, had been working in harsh conditions as almost all the tribal areas had turned into conflict zones.
Source: Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)