Increase in cases of violence against journalists in Pakistan28 Nov, 2017
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) expresses serious concern over the increasing incidents of attacks on journalists and violations of journalists’ rights in Pakistan. The IFJ urges the Pakistan government to ensure a safe reporting environment for journalists.
In Kohat city of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, television journalist Aleem Haider Zaidi was shot and injured in an attack under mysterious circumstances near his house in Garhi Atta Khan on November 24. Zaidi parked his motorcycle outside his house and fell down as he received a gunshot. He received a head injury but is reportedly in a stable condition. The police have launched an investigation but the motive behind the attack could not be ascertained, according to a report.
Meanwhile, three journalists were subjected to attacks as the security agencies cracked down on a political protest in Rawalpindi on November 25. Senior reporter Qamar Munawar of Dunya TV and Channel 24 reporter Sadam Mangar sustained injuries while senior photojournalist Tanveer Shahzad of Dawn was attacked by protesters on Murree Road. Two reporters of Geo News – Tariq Abul Hassan and Talha Hashmi were also injured while covering the protests. The DSNG vans of Samma, Abb Tak and Geo were attacked and damaged.
The protesters on November 22 attacked two senior photojournalists as they covered the clash with the police. Muhammad Asim of Dawn and Jahangir Chaudhry from Jang sustained minor injuries as a crowd with staffs attacked them. They also attempted to snatch their cameras.
On November 24, paramilitary forces detained five tribal journalists and a press club employee after a magnetic bomb was discovered beneath the car they were riding in Landikotal town in Khyber district bordering Peshawar. Four journalists were freed after 12 hours while owner of the car – Khalil Afridi – was still detained and grilled for the magnetic bomb, according to the Freedom Network Pakistan.
The detained journalists were Khalil Afridi of Khyber News channel, Farhad Shinwari of Mashaal Radio, Mehrab Shah Afridi of Tribal News Network, Umar Shinwari of Pakistan Television and Imran Khattak of Khabran newspaper.
The IFJ said: “The IFJ is seriously concerned by the spike in attacks, threats and harassment of journalists in Pakistan and urges the Pakistani authorities to ensure a safe reporting environment for journalists across the country to ensure independent journalism and freedom of the press.”