Pakistan Press Foundation pays tribute to journalist Mehmood Khan and Shehzad Khan who put themselves on the frontline to cover the story and lost their lives in the deadly blast.
On August 8, 2016, a bomb blast rippled through Quetta, the capital of the Balochistan province killing at least 73 people, two journalists were amongst the dead. Over a hundred were injured in the explosion.
A large number of lawyers had gathered outside the emergency ward of the Provincial Sandeman Hospital, known as Civil Hospital, where the body of Balochistan Bar Association (BBA) President Bilal Anwar Kasi had been brought after he was murdered
Dunya News reporter Faridullah and 92 News cameraman Muhammad Fateh were injured.
On the fifth anniversary of the horrific incident, Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF) pays tribute to the contributions of the journalists lost in the attack. Putting themselves on the frontline to cover a story, Shahzad and Mehmood lost their lives in the deadly blast.
The explosion had been confirmed as a suicide bombing. Jamaat-ul-Ahrar (Juan), a splinter group of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) had claimed responsibility for the attack. Speaking to PPF, Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists President Shahzada Zulfiqar said that the case was initially presented in the Anti Terrorism Court in Quetta. Police had traced the house of the suicide bomber and four others involved in the attack who had also been killed in a police operation. He added that the case is still pending in court.
“We demand justice not only for the journalists who are killed in incidents like blasts but also for those journalists who are killed in targeted attacks,” Zulfiqar said.
Civil Lines Police Station, Station House Officer (SHO) Shahbaz said that a collective first information report (FIR) was filed regarding the case. The case remains under investigation and none of the accused have yet been arrested.
Remembering Shahzad, Aaj TV Quetta Bureau Chief Mujeeb Ahmed said that Shahzad was amongst the few cameramen in Quetta who were “extremely passionate and responsible”.
“He was dedicated to his work and loyal to his duty.”
Aaj TV paid Rs25 lakhs to Shahzad’s family as compensation and took responsibility for his children’s education for a period of five years. Speaking to PPF, Shahzad’s brother Balaaj Khan said that the channel is still paying Shahzad’s salary to his wife to support her as the slain journalist was the sole provider for the family. He added that the provincial government had also given the family Rs10 lakhs as compensation.
Remembering Mehmood, the other journalist lost in the blast, former Dawn News TV Bureau Chief Ali Shah said that Mehmood was focused. He had been appointed as a security guard who was trained as a nonlinear editor (NLE) and served as a cameraman for the private channel.
“He was very passionate and committed, the team will always remember him,” Shah said.