A journalist killed, 8 injured in Peshawar blasts -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

A journalist killed, 8 injured in Peshawar blasts

Journalist Asfandyar Abid Naveed, 35, reporter of Daily “Akhbar-i-Khyber”, was killed and eight other journalists were injured when two blasts ripped through military cantonment’s Khyber Super Market, a commercial and residential area of Peshawar, the capital city of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province in Pakistan late night on June 11, 2011.

Around 39 people were killed and more than 100 were injured in the blasts. Police investigators believe the first bomb of low intensity was planted as a trap to target mostly the police and journalists who were expected to reach the site of the explosion.

Several journalists including Bureau Chief of “Dunya TV” Saifullah Gul, reporter “Dunya TV” Imran Bukhari, a young internee at daily “The News” Shafiullah, sub-editor of daily “The News” Barkatullah Marwat, reporter of “Geo TV” Qazi Fazlullah, cameraman of “AVT Khyber” Hashim Ali and reporters of daily “Akhbar-i-Khyber” Sheheryar and Riaz were also among the injured. Shafiullah who was doing his internship at daily “The News” is in critical condition at Burn Care Centre in Wah Cantt. Other injured journalists were, however, in stable condition after receiving first aid.

According to press reports, a low-intensity blast caused by a cracker planted in a toilet of Lala Restaurant at 11:45pm drew rescue workers and police to the place. The offices of several electronic and print media are also located in the densely populated area, therefore the journalists, who work in the nearby offices and reside there as well, rushed to the spot. A few minutes later a big explosion rocked when a man on a motorbike detonated his suicide vest, causing maximum casualties and damage. The second blast left the nearby plazas badly damaged and also smashed windowpanes of several other buildings. The dead and injured were taken to the Lady Reading Hospital.

Abdul Haq of the bomb disposal squad said that 2kg of low-quality explosive material was planted at the restaurant. He said the suicide bomber used about 12kg of explosives mixed with ball bearings.

Meanwhile, the Taliban denied responsibility for the blasts. Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan said they did not carry out this attack in Peshawar.

On Dec 22, 2009, journalist Naveed had survived a suicide bombing, which ripped through Peshawar Press Club and had received minor injuries. Few months back he was hit by a speedy bus, fracturing one of his legs. He remained hospitalised for several weeks and during that period he also lost his job.He had recently joined his new job at daily “Akhbar-i-Khyber”. His parents had died and he was unmarried. He has left two sisters.

Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) has condemned the blast in Peshawar in which 39 people including a journalist was killed. In a statement, PFUJ Secretary-General Amin Yousuf said it was another dark day for the journalists’ community, as one more colleague has lost his life in the line of duty. He said the journalists risked their lives in their quest for truth without caring about their own safety. PFUJ President Pervaiz Shaukat demanded the organizations for which the journalists who have been killed and injured worked to compensate their families.

Meanwhile, Khyber Union of Journalists (KhUJ) and Tribal Union of Journalists (TUJ) condemned the blasts and called upon the government to take steps for protection of media persons. In a press statement, KhUJ president Arshad Aziz Malik and secretary general Yousaf Ali said that the area was dominated by newspapers and television channels offices. TUJ in emergency meeting chaired by its president Safdar Hayat Dawar and General Secretary Hairan Mohmand demanded compensation to heirs of the victims.

Source: Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)