CORRECTION: Three journalists killed in bomb attack in Pakistan*
Pakistan remains one of the deadliest countries for journalists
By: Barbara Trionfi, Press Freedom Manager
Vienna, Jan 11, 2013 - Three journalists were killed yesterday in a double bomb explosion in Pakistan’s southwestern city of Quetta.
According Pakistan’s Dawn newspaper and other sources, at least 81 people were killed and 121 injured by two successive bomb blasts in a snooker club on Alamdar Road, Quetta, on Thursday night.
Saif ur Rehman (also identified by some sources as Saifullah Baloch), a reporter with Samaa TV, and Imran Shaikh, a cameraman with the same TV channel, were killed in the attack. Mohammad Iqbal, a photographer with the news agency News Network International (NNI), was also killed in the attack.
The banned militant organisation Lashkar-i-Jhangvi has reportedly claimed responsibility for the attack. Dawn noticed that a majority of the victims belonged to the Hazara Shia community.
Police said that the first blast appeared to be a suicide attack as a powerful blast took place after a man entered the snooker club. After police, journalists and rescue workers rushed to help the victims of the first blast, a second blast occurred outside the club, approximately 10 minutes later. The majority of the people were killed in the second blast, media reported.
"For years Pakistan as been one of the deadliest countries in the world for journalists, and local authorities have so far failed to address this major problem and end the impunity of the perpetrators of such violence," the Vienna-based International Press Institute noted, condemning the attack.
IPI has recorded the death of eight journalists in Pakistan in 2012 as a consequence of their work. As IPI Executive Board Member Owais Aslam Ali, chairman of Pakistan Press International, noted, impunity for crimes committed against journalists in Pakistan continues to prevail: of the over 50 journalists killed in Pakistan since the year 2000, only the murder of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl in 2002 led to prosecutions and convictions.
CORRECTION: The original article reported that two journalists, rather than three, were killed in the Jan. 10 bomb attack in Pakistan, as Mohammad Iqbal was initially wrongly identified as a computer operator instead of a photojournalist.