The latest in a nearly year-old string of attacks on Express News personnel and installations
Reporters Without Borders condemns today’s bombing of the home of Jamshed Baghwan, Express News TV’s bureau chief in Peshawar. It was the third attempt to target Baghwan and his family with an explosive device since March and the latest in an 11-month-old string of attacks on Express Media group personnel and installations, some of which have been claimed by the Taliban.
Left in a milk pack in front of the house by men on a motorcycle, today’s home-made bomb damaged the outside of the building but caused no injuries when it was set off by a timer at 11 am.
“We are outraged by this latest murder attempt targeting an Express News journalist and his family,” said Benjamin Ismaïl, the head of the Reporters Without Borders Asia-Pacific desk. “We urge the authorities to react quickly and to assign security personnel to protect their home.”
“My family members and I are all safe, thank God,” Baghwan told RWB. “More than one kilogram of explosives was used in the attack. Today’s blast was bigger than the previous ones.”
Asked who he thought was behind the bombs, Baghwan said: “The enemy is unknown. I am clueless as to why these elements are targeting my house. I see no reason to believe that these attacks are unrelated to my profession.”
Although no group has claimed the bomb attacks on Baghwan’s home, the police think the same people were behind them, and that the motive may have been to put pressure on him and other journalists.
Baghwan also expressed dismay at the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provincial government’s failure to protect him. “No-one from the government side has contacted me since these bombs started going off outside my home. I’ve not been provided any security nor has the information minister expressed any solidarity with me.”
The attacks on Express News began in August 2013, when shots were fired at its headquarters in Karachi. It was the target of shots and bombs again in December. Three of its employees were shot dead in Karachi in January. And, on 28 March, shots were fired at a car carrying star programme host Raza Rumi, killing his driver and injuring his bodyguard.
Some of these attacks have been claimed by Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan, which said it acted to combat the negative coverage it was getting from Express News and other media.
Pakistan is ranked 158th out of 180 countries in the 2014 Reporters Without Borders press freedom index.