Two media staffers killed, several others injured in suicide bomb blast in Quetta
Two media staffers were killed and seven others were injured in a suicide attack on September 3 on a procession in Quetta, the capital city of Pakistan’s restive Balochistan province. At least 64 people were killed and over 160 injured in the blast. The procession was organised by the Shiite, Imamia Students’ Organisation to mark the Al Quds day to express solidarity with the Palestinians.
The persons participating in the procession then started firing, triggering chaos and panic. People fled or lay on the ground to avoid the gunfire. Some persons including journalists were injured as a result of the firing.
Among those media staffers who died in the blast was Muhammad Sarwar, van driver of “Aaj News” TV channel who was hit by the bullets and died on the spot. Aijaz Raisani 30, cameraman of “Samaa TV”, who was injured in the blast and also received two bullet wounds, died on September 6.
Journalists who were injured included Noor Elahi Bugti, reporter of “Samaa TV”; Mustafa Tareen, Bureau Chief “ARY News”; Aminullah Mengal, cameram ; Shahid Mukhtar, cameraman “Express News”; Irshad Mastoi, reporter, “Express NewsÂ”; Imran Mukhtar, cameraman, “Geo News” and Fateh Shakir, cameraman, “Dawn News”.
Haji Muhammad Ajmal, vice president of Quetta Press Club (QPC) told PPF that Mustapha Tareen and Shahid Mukhtar remain in critical condition. Bugti, Mastoi, Shakir, Mengal and Imran Mukhtar who is the brother of the critically injured Shahid Mukhtar, have been discharged from hospital after treatment.
Angry protestors also fired gunshots on Direct Satellite News gathering (DSNG) vans of TV channels, “Aaj News, “Dunya TV”, “Express News” and “Dawn News”.
Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP’s) suicide wing, Qari Hussain, said the attacks had been carried out by Taliban suicide bomber.
Balochistan home secretary Akbar Hussain Durrani said that the organisers of the procession had been alerted to the threat. The provincial government has now imposed a ban on all religious processions.
Bomb disposal squad officials said the device packed 15 kilograms of explosives. The impact of the blast smashed windows of a number of shops and buildings. All shopping centres and business establishments shuttered down after an angry mob set on fire several vehicles and ransacked some shops.
The Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) condemned the suicide attack on the rally. In a statement, the PFUJ said the incident had again proved that media professionals are working in hostile conditions without any security or protection, and they easily fall prey to such attacks.
The PFUJ pointed out that media persons were neither trained, nor was any protective material given to them. The PFUJ urged the government to take notice of the Quetta incident and provide compensation to the family of the deceased cameraman and injured journalists.
Balochistan Governor Nawab Zulfiqar Ali Magsi and Chief Minister Nawab Muhammad Aslam Raisani, expr essing s s injured in the bomb blast, said the government would bear all the expenditures on treatment of the injured media persons.
Source: Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)