Pakistani media group’s staff suffer third attack in three weeks

By Greenslade Blog

A Pakistani media group, Express Media, has just suffered its sixth attack in nine months, and the third within three weeks.

A hand grenade was thrown at the home of Jamshed Baghwan, the Express News bureau chief in Peshawar, on Sunday (6 April). It exploded near the gate but no one was injured.

This followed the placing of a bomb outside Baghwan’s house on 19 March, which was defused by a bomb disposal unit.

On 28 March, shots were fired at Raza Rumi, a senior analyst working for Express News, after his car was intercepted by gunmen on motorbikes in Lahore. Rumi escaped injury, but his driver died and his bodyguard was critically injured.

Rumi has been vocal in his condemnation of the Taliban and religious extremist groups.

According to an Index on Censorship report, four Express Media employees have been killed over the past nine months.

Political leaders and the government routinely condemn attacks on media workers, but have yet to take concrete action.

Kamal Siddiqi, editor of the Express Tribune, argues that there is a lack of unity among Pakistani journalists. “We have a great tradition of abiding by democratic traditions,” he wrote in his paper, “but at the same time we have done poorly in terms of sticking together. There are splinters within splinters.”

While Islamic militants openly admit to some attacks, they are not the only threat to journalists. Editors and reporters have faced intimidation from state elements, including intelligence agencies, plus members of elected political parties and business people.

This article was published in The Guardian


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