Pakistani security personnel collect evidence from the scene of a suicide bomb blast in Peshawar. – AFP
While Friends of Taliban, such as Ansar Abbasi, Shaheen Sehbai, Dr Shahid Masood, are busy in derailing the democratic government in Pakistan, while members of the Pakistani Taliban Union of Journalists (PTUJ) are busy in exaggerating charges of threats to their life by school going children, their friends Taliban are busy killing ordinary citizens, politicians, police, army and now journalists.
In the words of a fellow blogger at pkpolitics, will Ansar Abbasi now get out from under his bed, take 10 ml Pepto Bismol and do some of his ‘investigative journalisms’ on the Press Club bombing.
They killed his colleagues.
Suicide bomber targets Peshawar Press Club
Tuesday, 22 Dec, 2009
PESHAWAR: A suicide bomber on Tuesday attacked a Pakistan journalists’ club, killing three people in the first assault on media offices.
Strapped with explosives, the man walked up to the gate of the press club in the northwestern city of Peshawar, where he blew himself up as police stopped him from entering the building, officials said.
‘I was coming out of the canteen when I suddenly heard a huge blast. Smoke engulfed the building immediately and when I reached the spot, I saw human organs littered on the ground,’ said television journalist Nisar Mohammad Khan.
The force of the explosion blew out the windows at the press club, damaged the guard hut and ripped through nearby vehicles, said witnesses.
‘He was stopped by police deployed outside. When the police official started searching him, the attacker blew himself up,’ Peshawar police chief Liaquat Ali told reporters at the scene.
Taliban militants, who are powerful in northwest Pakistan, threatened media in Peshawar, said the president of the press club, Shamim Shahid.
‘We beefed up security after the threats and people coming to the club were properly checked,’ he said.
Doctors at Peshawar’s main Lady Reading Hospital said three people were killed – a policeman, a press club employee and a woman.
Doctor Zafar Iqbal said 17 people were wounded and later clarified that an original death toll of four included the bomber.
Police said four journalists were among the wounded.
Bomb disposal squad chief Tanveer Ahmed said most of the casualties were caused by steel pellets and nails stuffed in the suicide bomber’s explosives vest.
North West Frontier Province information minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain, who visited the wreckage, acknowledged that extra security measures in place for the holy Muslim month of Muharram could not totally eliminate attacks.
‘We have already taken special measures in view of Muharram but suicide attacks cannot be totally eliminated such incidents cannot be ruled out in future. But we will continue our struggle against terrorists,’ he said.
Peshawar has been hit by at least seven attacks in the past two months in retaliation for a military offensive launched in mid-October against the militant stronghold of South Waziristan in Pakistan’s lawless tribal area near the Afghan border. A single attack in late October in a market popular with women and children in Peshawar killed 112 people.
The Peshawar Press Club targeted in Tuesday’s attack is a well known landmark in the city, and many journalists congregate there.
“Journalists have played a vital role in our war by exposing the terrorists, so they are on the target list too like mosques, bazaars and security institutions,” said Mian Iftikhar Hussain, the information minister for Northwest Frontier Province, of which Peshawar is the capital.
A provincial labor minister had been scheduled to hold a news conference at the club later Tuesday, said the organization’s president, Shamim Shahid.
The chief minister of the province, Amir Haider Khan Hoti, described the bombing as an attack on press freedom.
“We salute the media for … exposing militants and their acts against innocent people,” he said, adding that “terrorists are becoming desperate as they know they are losing this war, so they are attacking the media directly.”