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Two injured in attacks on Pakistani media houses

Two employees of a media house were injured on February 17, 2014 when two unknown men hurled hand-grenades at the main gates of two media houses in Karachi namely, Business Recorder Group and Nawa-i-Waqt. No one has claimed responsibility for the attacks. Another bomb was discovered on February 18 in the parking lot of ARY television network.

The attacks come within a month of the killing of three staff members of Express News, for which no one has yet been arrested.

The injured were Rasool Baksh, guard and Abdus Sattar, driver for Business Recorder Group, who were rushed to a nearby hospital.

The attackers, who were on a motorbike, threw a low-intensity bomb at the guards' check post outside the Business Recorder Group building at around 7 PM, then headed toward the Nawa-i-Waqt Group building where they threw another crude bomb before fleeing the scene. Luckily, the second bomb did not explode and was defused by police; whereas the first bomb damaged the main gate of the office and vehicles parked outside.

An official of the Bomb Disposal Squad (BDS) said the bomb was a hand-made cracker, prepared in a soft-drink tin and it contained around 250 to 300 grams of aluminium powder as explosive.

In a separate incident, an explosive material was found in the parking lot of ARY TV channel's head office on the morning of February 18. The bomb did not explode and was diffused by police.

The Coalition for Media Safety (COMS) strongly condemned the attack and called for effective steps by the government to ensure the safety of media organisations and personnel and for an end to the culture of impunity for those who resort to violence against media, which has made Pakistan among the most dangerous countries in the world for journalists.

In a statement issued on February 18, COMS said that such attacks carried out with impunity and the failure of the police to investigate violence against the media are further evidence of the urgent need for the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate and prosecute violence against media organisations and professionals.

The Pakistan Broadcasting Association (PBA) condemned the attack in the strongest terms and demanded that the Government immediately investigate the incidents, provide security to media and arrest those involved. These attacks are attempts to prevent the media from performing its responsibilities.

The All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS) also condemned the attacks and expressed great concern over the increasing trend of attacks on media houses which suggests a failure of the law enforcing institutions. The
APNS reiterated its demand that the government should provide foolproof security to the media houses and media professionals.

The Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) and the Karachi Union of Journalists (KUJ) strongly condemned the attack and demanded of the law enforcement agencies to take necessary steps to arrest the culprits. PFUJ said such incidents show the extent of the threat faced by the media, and demanded security for the media organisations and media persons.

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