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IFJ Condemns Attack on News Crew in Pakistan

August 23, 2011

IFJ Condemns Attack on News Crew in Pakistan

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) in condemning an attack on an AVT Khyber News reporting team in Peshawar, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, on August 22.

Bureau chief Hazrat Khan Momand, resident editor Akhbar-i-Khyber Nisar Khan and news controller Syed Waqas Shah were reportedly intercepted by unknown men on a motorcycle near the Peshawar High Court building as they returned to their office in the afternoon.

According to the PFUJ and its affiliate, the Khyber Union of Journalists (KhUJ), the assailants verbally abused the team before hurling bricks and stones at them. They fired shots as they fled.

Hazrat Khan Momand was seriously injured and is recovering in hospital, according to the PFUJ.

Unconfirmed reports suggest the attack may be related to Khyber News reports in recent days about allegations of government corruption.

The team had earlier reported on the welfare of provincial Education Minister Sardar Hussain Babak, who is in hospital after an ambush on his vehicle in Buner district on August 21.

The PFUJ and KhUJ demanded an immediate inquiry into the attack on the news crew.

“Local and federal authorities must respond with urgency to the alarming regularity of attacks against journalists in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, and end the impunity which prevails for murder, assault and abduction of media personnel across Pakistan,” IFJ Asia-Pacific said.

The PFUJ also noted concerns about another attack on a television crew on August 19. In that incident, a Samaa TV team was assaulted by police as they reported on the emergency response at the Hayatabad Medical Complex after a suicide bomb attack killed 48 people at a mosque in Jamrud, about 25 kilometres from Peshawar.

Samaa bureau chief Shaukat Khattak was seriously injured in the incident. He told the Daily Times that a police officer struck him from behind as he talked on the phone. Cameraman Imran and assistant Anwar Khan were also reportedly injured.

The KhUJ will voice concerns about attacks against the media at a demonstration at the Peshawar Press Club on August 23.

Meanwhile, grave concerns continue to be held for the welfare of tribal journalist Rehmatullah Dawar, whose whereabouts are unknown since he was abducted in North Waziristan, in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), on August 11.

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 131 countries

Find the IFJ on Twitter: @ifjasiapacific

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