Peshawar loses second journalist in two weeks
Javed Aziz Khan
PESHAWAR: The provincial capital lost the second journalist in bomb blasts in less than two weeks, though both were not the targets of the bombings.
Hailing from Peshawar, Arif Shafi, who had been working at a news agency in Kabul for the last couple of years, was caught in the University Road motorcycle bombing when he was passing through the area. He was on leave and was to return to Afghanistan to resume his duty in the Afghan capital.
“His memory will always haunt me. He was to come back to Kabul on Wednesday to work with us at Pajhwok Afghan News. May God bless his soul,” said a Facebook post of senior Pakistani journalist working with Pajhwok, Syed Mudassir Ali Shah.
Arif Shafi, 36, was working on the English desk of the Pajhwok in Kabul. He is survived by three children, two daughters Maliha and Yusra and son Khizar. “We express deep shock at the sad demise of another colleague of ours and express our sympathies with the bereaved family. Arif is the 8th journalist across the country and third in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Fata killed in different incidents this year,” Peshawar Press Club General Secretary Yousuf Ali said.
He urged the government to not only pay handsome compensation to the family of the slain journalist, but also ensure protection to media people.
Besides, Arif Shafi, Ayesha Ali, daughter of another Peshawar journalist Gohar Ali and student of first year at a local college, was among the 61 injured in Monday’s bombing. She had gone to the University of Peshawar to get some documents when she was caught and wounded in the blast. The young student was taken to the Khyber Teaching Hospital and her condition was stated to be stable.
Arif Shafi is the second journalist belonging to Peshawar to have been killed in a blast during the last two weeks. The first was Tariq Aslam, sub-editor at a local Urdu language daily, who was among the 19 people killed in a suicide attack on Awami National Party (ANP) stalwart Ghulam Ahmad Bilour and his nephew Haroon Bilour in Mundaberi in Yakatoot on April 16.
Two journalists Azhar Ali Shah and Ihtesham Khan had sustained injuries in the suicide attack. “Tariq Aslam has left behind four minor sons and a widow to mourn his death. The government is yet to provide any kind of assistance to the deserving family of the slain journalist,” Yousuf Ali said.