February 19, 2014 - Updated on January 20, 2016

Explosive device attacks on Karachi news media

Reporters Without Borders condemns an attack with explosive devices on a building shared by two sister news media, Aaj News and Business Recorder, in the Guru Mandir district of Karachi on 17 February. Thrown by individuals on a motorcycle, the devices caused minor injuries to a security guard and a driver. A similar device was thrown soon afterwards at a nearby building housing three media outlets – Waqt TV, The Nation and Nawa-i-Waqt – but did not explode and was defused. Police said the same group could have been responsible for both attacks, which have not been claimed. “We unequivocally condemn these attacks and urge the police to identify those responsible and bring them to justice,” said Benjamin Ismaïl, the head of the Reporters Without Borders Asia-Pacific desk. “The climate is clearly deteriorating. Targeted attacks have continued since last month’s fatal shooting of three Express News TV employees. We call on the authorities to deploy security measures appropriate to the dangers to which media personnel are exposed.” In a separate development, Ijaz Mengal, an education ministry employee and stringer for the Intekhab daily newspaper since 2005, was killed in Khuzdar, in the southwestern province of Balochistan on 14 February. The Baloch National Army separatist group claimed responsibility for his death, accusing him of having acted as a spy for national security agencies. The victim’s brother, Intekhab reporter Riaz Mengal, said his own journalistic activities were the reason for the separatist group’s decision to target his brother. Riaz Mengal was himself kidnapped in October 2007, supposedly because of his reporting. After managing to escape from his abductors a month later, he fled Balochistan because he thought it was too dangerous for journalists. Since fleeing he has continued to receive threats, including threats against his family. One of the world’s deadliest countries for journalists, Pakistan is ranked 158th out of 180 countries in the 2014 Reporters Without Borders press freedom index. Credit: Express Tribune