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Journalists targeted while covering Karachi violence

(IFJ/IFEX) - November 9, 2012 - The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is informed by its affiliate, the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ), of a number of journalists being injured in assaults by security forces, while covering the aftermath of a bomb attack in the southern city of Karachi.

The PFUJ reports that the Karachi headquarters of the Pakistan Rangers - a paramilitary force tasked with internal security and border patrol duties - was targeted by a truck-borne bomb during the early hours of November 8. One person was killed and over a dozen injured, including some civilians.

Media persons who converged on the site soon afterwards were attacked by Rangers personnel, who prevented them from recording events and even broke some of their equipment.

Among the journalists injured in the incident are Aatif Hussain and Shakeel Baloch from Aaj TV, Naseem Adil of Samaa TV, Mehmood Riyaz from Hero/Express TV and Babar Saleem from Dunya TV.

PFUJ President Pervaiz Shaukat has strongly condemned the lawless behavior of the Rangers personnel.

"Preventing journalists from performing their duties is tantamount to restricting access to information," Shaukat said. "Such actions violate the basic principles of press freedom".

PFUJ Secretary General Amin Yousaf has called on the superior authorities in the Rangers chain of command to take strict action against those who manhandled journalists and broke their equipment.

The IFJ joins its affiliates in demanding appropriate action and an agreed code between the media and the security authorities dealing with modes of coverage of such contingencies.

WHAT OTHER IFEX MEMBERS ARE SAYING

Journalist injured in cross fire, two journalists gunned down (Pakistan Press Foundation)

Zille Hyder, a correspondent for the leading television news channel Geo News, received bullet injuries on November 11, 2012, in an armed clash between two groups in the city of Karachi, the capital of Sindh province. Hyder was on an assignment to cover the violence in the city, when an exchange of firing started between two unknown groups, according to PPF. He was struck by two bullets in his right hand and rushed to hospital. His condition was termed stable but doctors are keeping him under observation.

PPF also reports that two journalists for a local weekly were killed on November 10 in a targeted attack.

According to The Nation newspaper, men on a motorbike sprayed bullets on Syed Tariq Hussain and Aslam Raja near Saifi College and fled. Police arrived at the scene and rushed the two journalists to Abbasi Shaheed Hospital where they were pronounced dead on arrival.

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