Monday, September 6, 2010

PFUJ demands high powered commission to probe the death of media person in the Quetta Blast

PFUJ demands high powered commission to probe the death of media person in the Quetta Blast
ISLAMABAD, Sept 6: The Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) has expressed deep grief and sorrow over the tragic death of Ejaz Raisani, SAMAA TV cameraman, who succumbed to his injuries suffered during Al-Quds rally blast in Quetta on Friday.

The PFUJ blamed the TV management for his death.
“Ejaz passed away on Monday morning due to fatal injuries. He was among the eight media persons, some of whom were injured by the blast while others were hit by indiscriminate firing by elements belonging to a banned religious outfit.

Ejaz was shifted to CMH Quetta for treatment but he did not recover.

The PFUJ pointed out that Ejaz, 31, was under tremendous pressure from seniors and management to cover the event without any security arrangements or protective gadgets.

Ejaz Raisani was a hard worker, but he too was underpaid.He left behind a widow and two children (Faiza, 5, and Muzaffar, 3).

Those who worked closely with Ejaz will confirm his commitment to profession. According to his colleagues, he was one of the most talented professionals. The best thing about him was his willingness to overcome his weaknesses and learn new techniques.

Ejaz was a perfectionist who would get upset if quality of his work was not up to standard. He was very much displeased with his previous employer. He used to complain about his previous employer, ARY One World, for paying him a meagre salary.

He was also a regular contributor to Baluchistan's first online paper “Baloch Hal.”

The PFUJ said the tragic killing of Ejaz is a grim reminder of the hardships under which journalists in Balochistan have to work. The threat facing safety of media persons is multi-pronged.
The PFUJ said that the conflicts in Pakistan have taken a very alarming turn. The forces involved in armed conflicts have no respect and regard for humanity, Media of course being more exposed is more vulnerable.

The PFUJ believed that one of the reasons for attacking the media persons in Friday’s blast was the presumption of the attackers that media persons were collecting evidence against them by shooting live events which subsequently would be used against them.

In a fit of frenzy, they shot at all media persons engaged in covering the procession, eye witnesses observed.

Only the bereaved can know what it means to lose the head of a family, and that too a week before Eid.

All that can now be done is that the bereaved family should be taken care of, the PFUJ added.

The PFUJ demanded of the government to appoint a high level fact finding Commission to investigate the causes leading to the death of Aaj TV Driver, Mohammad Sarwar, and Star Cameraman of Samaa TV Ejaj and wounding of Amin Mengal (Cameraman ARY TV), Imran Mukhtar (Cameraman Geo TV), Fateh Shakir (Cameraman Dawn TV), Hakim (Cameraman Aaj TV), Shahid (Cameraman Samaa TV), Mustafa Tareen (Bureau Chief ARY), Irshad Mastoi (Reporter Express TV), and Noor Elahi Bugti (Acting Bureau Chief Samaa TV), all of whom were engaged in their hazardous profession.

The terms of reference of the Commission should include under what circumstances after suicidal blast media team was fired upon; whether the media persons assigned for covering the event were trained by their respective media outlets; whether they were provided protective gadgets and jackets for covering the event in the eventuality of bomb blast, firing, riots, mob attacks, etc, what type of protective cover was provided to media personnel before asking them to cover the live event; Was there any SOP for protection of media persons for live coverage in the conflict areas; did the media outlets committed a deliberate and criminal negligence by failing to evolve an SOP and providing adequate protection and training to their reporting teams for live coverage in dangerous zones which led to the death of two media related employees and wounding of 7 persons, if so what action is warranted against them.

The PFUJ asked the Chief Justice of Supreme Court of Pakistan to take suo moto notice of the gruesome incident which took precious lives of two media related persons and injuries to 7 others which prima facie constitutes criminal negligence by the Media Owners.

The PFUJ said it was appreciable that the Chief Justice of SC had been kind enough to take prompt suo moto notice on requests on various counts, including media owners' plea for freedom of press, but when two precisous lives have been lost, we request for such a judicial probe.
As per Constitution and Islamic jurisprudence everyone has equal rights and is equal before law and the Supreme Court is under Oath to protect the Constitution.

Therefore, the demand of the PFUJ deserves due consideration on merit to take notice of lapses on thepart of media outlets which resulted in the death of the two media persons and injuries to 7 other in Quetta firing-cum-blast incident.

Shamsul Islam Naz
Secretary General
12-Nazimuddin Road, F-6/1
Islamabad, Pakistan
Phone Office +92(0)51 2870220-1
Facsimile +92(0)51 2870223
Cellular +92(0)300 8665523

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