Press Statement

Pakistan: Journalist killed in bomb blast on World Press Freedom Day

06 May, 2024

Khuzdar Press Club President and senior journalist Muhammad Siddique Mengal was killed on May 3, after an unidentified man placed and detonated an explosive device inside his vehicle in Khuzdar, Balochistan. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and its affiliate, the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ), strongly condemn the targeted killing of Mengal and urge the Pakistani government to launch a thorough investigation into the incident and ensure the safety of journalists.

Mengal was killed by a magnetic bomb blast attack in the Chamrok area of Khuzdar on Sultan Ibrahim Road, on the national highway in the Khuzdar district of Balochistan. According to law enforcement, at least nine others were injured in the explosion, with Mengal and two other men killed. According to SHO City, Muhammad Siddique Mengal was travelling to attend Friday prayers at the Khuzdar Engineering University mosque at the time of the attack.

In a Closed Circuit Television recording of the attack widely circulated on social media, a presently unidentified assailant on a motorcycle can be seen targeting Mengal’s car with an explosive device, seconds before the device detonates. Police reports to media indicate the assailants used a homemade ‘magnet bomb’, which was attached to the car’s door before being set off remotely.

Mengal, working as a journalist since 1997, was known for his contributions to the local daily newspaper Bakhabar, Independent News Pakistan, and Nawa e Waqt. The journalist had previously survived an attempt on his life, after unidentified assailants shot into his vehicle on August 11, 2023. No arrests or updates to security measures were implemented in the wake of this attack.

The killing was met with protests from journalists in Quetta and condolences from Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Minister for Information and Broadcasting Attaullah Tarar. According to the police, the motive behind these attacks is still unknown. Investigations are ongoing, however, no group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

The Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) said: “The culprits should be arrested immediately, and a thorough investigation should be carried out into this attack.”.”

IFJ General Secretary Anthony Bellanger said: “The Government of Pakistan must promptly implement measures that guarantee the safety and security of media workers per its legal obligations. The killers of Muhammad Siddique Mengal and other journalists across Pakistan should not be allowed to escape with impunity. These attacks not only jeopardize the safety of individual journalists but also undermine the fundamental rights of press freedom and free expression.”

Written By

IFJ Asia-Pacific IFJ Asia-Pacific

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