PFUJ announced 3-day of mourning over killing of 2 journalists
ISLAMABAD, Dec 6: The Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) on Monday reiterated its demand that the parliamentarians immediately devise aMedia Practitioners' Protection and Media Managers Responsibilities' Actto protect lives of media men after the death of two journalists intwin suicide blasts at Ghalani, Mohmand Agency.
Abdul Wahab of Express News and Pervez Khan of Waqt TV lost their lives with 50 otherpeople and 100 others received injuries when apair of suicide bombers in the guise of policemen targetted a tribal meeting called to discuss the formation of an anti-Taliban militia in northwest Pakistan.
The PFUJ would observe three-day mourning and hoist blackflags and hold condolence meetings at press clubs, offices of affiliated Unions of Journalists and at news centres throughout the country.
According to reports reaching the PFUJ Secretariat,thedead and wounded included tribal elders, policemen, political officials and other civilians.
President of the Mohmand Press club Shakirullah Jan said bothAbdul Wahab and Pervez Khanwere preparing a report on the plight of displaced people when a suicide bomber struck.
The deceased Abdul Wahab, stated to be around 35, has been attached with Journalism for the last over a decade. He has left behind two daughters, the elder one around three, and a widow. His two brothers are abroad. He has also served as General Secretary of the Ghalani Press Club. He belonged to Dara Village in Haleemzai Tehsil of the Mohmand Agency.
Similarly, Pervez Khan, who was about 28, was attached with Waqt TV. He was also married and has left behind a widow and four children. He hailed from Mula Mandi area in Haleemzai Tehsil.
Both Abdul Wahab and Perveez Khan belonged to poor families. They were being paid hardly 30 to 40 USD by their organisations occasionally and they were not on regular pay-role or being paid any other emoluments in lieu of their professional assignments.
Both the journalists were on their routine duty.
Another journalist, Mohab Ali Mohmand, who is attached with a news agency, has also received injuries in the occurrence. He is in the field for around eight years.
Reportedly, these are the first casualties of media persons in the ongoing conflict in Mohmand Agency.
The PFUJ said that this incidenthad again proved how vulnerable the media persons were in the ongoing conflict while performing their duties. "Several of our colleagues have so far been killed in the line of duty in such like incidents in different parts of the country. Dear friends, please remain careful while covering events in sensitive areas. Your life is more precious than the events you are covering, said Shamsul Islam Naz, Secretary General PFUJ.
“Journalists and media workers in Pakistan have to work daily with extreme risks of working in a tense conflict environment,” PFUJ SG added said.
The PFUJ regretted that it was pity that instead of “keeping in view such hostile environment and acknowledging these risks, media managers have willfully and criminally failed to fulfill their obligation and to ensure protection of media practitioners, though provision of professional training for working safely, safety equipment, and life insurance schemes and assistance to families could have been the prime duty of media managers.”
The PFUJ pointed out callousness of media owners can be judged from the fact that all TV channels equipment, including cameras, tripods, cell phones, caller mikes, wireless mikes, gun mikes, Digital Satellite Newsgathering Vans, etc., are ensured but media persons who carry these equipment are not ensured.
The PFUJ said that entire media community in Pakistan is in utter disbelief over the tragic killing of journalists, as since Jan I, 2000, 165 journalists have lost their lives. The figure is more than the journalists killed in Iraq war.
The PFUJ demanded of the government to take notice of such criminal negligence of media owners which caused the death Abdul Wahab and Pervez Khan, and they should be booked in consonance with the provisions of Section 321 and 322 of the Pakistan Penal Code.
The PFUJ also demanded that victims families be also compensated forthwith.
The PFUJ also urged the world media organisations to send fact finding missions to Pakistan to assess the miserable conditions of media persons and their killingowing to negligence of media owners.
The PFUJ also urged the international community to join the PFUJ in mourning the death of the deceased Pakistani journalists.