Latest attacks on media in Pakistan leave two dead, two wounded

On 8 September 2015, the Geo News digital satellite news gathering (DSNG) van was attacked by unknown gunmen who killed satellite technical engineer Arshad Ali Jaffery and wounded the driver, Anis Chauhan. The incident occurred in Karachi, Pakistan.

Jaffery received seven bullets to his chest, neck and upper body, while Chauhan was struck by a bullet in the shoulder and is in stable condition.

The Geo News van was parked outside while two of the employees had gone inside a store; Jaffery and Chauhan were waiting for them by the roadside.

Three men on a motorbike approached the TV station van. One of them got off the bike, fired multiple shots at the van and then fled from the scene.

The injured driver drove the vehicle to a private hospital where Jaffery was pronounced dead.

Munir Ahmed Shaikh, Deputy Inspector General (head of police) in the region, said police found nine bullet shells from a 9mm pistol at the crime scene and were checking the CCTV footage.

No one has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Azhar Abbas, head of Geo News, said, “Police have to determine the motive behind the attack, but obviously we see it as a targeted attack not only on Geo and its team but also on the country’s free media. We strongly condemn this attack, but at the same time rely on police who have assured us of a thorough, speedy and transparent investigation into the incident. We expect them to bring the masterminds and attackers to justice.”

The Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) and Karachi Union of Journalists (KUJ) condemned the attack and called it an attempt to harass and suppress the media. They demanded a thorough and transparent investigation of the incident and also urged the government to provide security to the journalist community and media organizations.

There were two more separate attacks within 24 hours for which the motives are not yet clear. In another case of a targeted killing in Karachi, senior journalist Aftab Alam was shot by unknown men who fired at him outside his house on September 9 and then fled from the scene.

He was shot in his head and was rushed to the hospital but he died on the way.

Alam had previously worked for Geo News television channel but had not been working there for over a year because of health reasons.

Meanwhile in Peshawar, the capital of Khyber Pakthunkhwa province, Abdul Azam Shinwari received gunshot wounds but managed to escape from his assailant.

According to Mr. Safdar Dawar, former president of the Tribal Union of Journalists, the reason for the attack is not known but Azam had recently moved from the town of Landikotal in the tribal areas as he was receiving threats there.

Pakistan Press Foundation

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