Pakistani Journalist Killed By Car Bomb

world | May 11, 2011 | By RFE/RL 

A journalist has been killed in a car-bomb attack in Pakistan's northern city of Peshawar, RFE/RL's Radio Mashaal reports.

Nasrullah Afridi died on May 10 when a bomb exploded under his car after he entered it. The attack took place outside a supermarket in Peshawar's Bararord Street, witnesses told RFE/RL.

Afridi worked for the Urdu-language newspaper "Mashriq," which is privately owned and published in Peshawar. He also reported for official Pakistan Television, covering the Bara region and the Khyber tribal agency.

The Khyber Union of Journalists and the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists, which work to protect reporters, condemned the killing and demanded that the government ensure journalists' safety.

Afridi, who was in his mid-30s, had five children. His relatives and friends said he was going to pick up wheelchairs for his two disabled children when the explosion occurred.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province's information minister, Mian Iftikhar Hussain, told RFE/RL the attack was a targeted killing.

Nasrullah Afridi
"It is clear the explosives were planted there, or the bomb was remote-controlled," he said. "Journalists are being targeted because they are writing the truth and those [militants] don't like the truth."

Sher Khan Afridi, a close associate and former president of the Tribal Union of Journalists, said that Afridi had been receiving death threats from unknown people.

"Since the beginning of the [sectarian militancy] Nasrullah was attacked, threatened, and bombs were thrown at his house," he said. "Even in recent days we each received a threat."

Sher Khan Afridi said his colleague was the 11th tribal-area journalist to be targeted by the warring parties in the region and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in the past two years.

International media watchdogs say Pakistan is one of the most dangerous countries for journalists.

Journalists in Peshawar gathered at the Peshawar Press Club on May 11 and chanted slogans against terrorism, demanding that the government ensure journalists' safety.

Addressing the protest, Khyber Union of Journalists President Saiful Islam Saifi said he "condemned" this latest attack, and called on the government to investigate the killings of all the journalists who had been targeted in the tribal areas and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Saifi also criticized a governor's commission established to investigate the killing of another journalist some years previously, which he said was "still not working."

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