TV cameraman killed in Karachi attack

KARACHI -  Gunmen shot dead an employee of a private TV channel in Karachi on Sunday shortly after launching a grenade attack on a police vehicle.

Taimoor Abbas, an assistant cameraman for privately-run Samaa TV, had gone with colleagues to North Nazimabad neighbourhood to cover an attack on police when the van they were travelling in came under fire.

The 22-year-old Taimoor was rushed to Abbasi Shaheed Hospital for treatment but could not survive, said senior police official Muqadas Haider.

Haider said the unidentified assailants had thrown an explosive device on a police armoured personnel carrier. No one was hurt in the initial attack but when the Samaa vehicle arrived the gunmen started shooting.

Nobody has yet claimed responsibility for the assault but counter terrorism department chief Raja Umar Khitab said it was a “targeted attack against both media and police”.

According to police, armed men hurled a hand-grenade at an armoured personnel carrier (APC) of Shahra-e-Noor Jehan Police Station at Five Star Roundabout. “However, no loss of life was reported in the incident,” it added.

According to Sindh police spokesman, Sindh IGP AD Khawaja had asked the DIG West to probe into the incident. He also directed the SSP central to take strict action against those involved and also form a special team to investigate.   

Soon after this incident, gunmen targeted a DSNG vehicle of a private television channel near KDA roundabout in Nazimabad, killing assistant cameraman Taimoor.

The attackers were riding a bike.

Meanwhile, political parties and journalist organisations have condemned the attack on media team and have demanded the provincial government to safeguard journalists and bring the attackers to justice.

Karachi, a major business and industrial hub, is rife with political, sectarian and ethnic militancy.

A strategic operation in the city by security forces in recent years has brought a lull in violence, but scattered attacks still take place.

Pakistan is ranked among the world’s most dangerous countries for the media.

Last month unidentified attackers shot dead a newspaper journalist in Balochistan as he returned home on his motorcycle.

Meanwhile, Minister of State for Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage, Marriyum Aurangzeb Sunday strongly condemned the incident of firing on DSNG van of Samaa TV in Karachi.

In a statement issued here, the minister said that government believed in freedom of expression and would never tolerate such attacks which undermine independence of media.

She said the government was making all possible efforts in liasion and coordination with provincial governments to create a secure and enabling environment for the media persons so that they could perform their obligations in accordance with their professional ethos.

She urged the provincial government to take an immediate cognizance of the matter and bring the culprits to book.

She also expressed her deep grief over the loss of precious life in the incident and extended her heartfelt sympathies to the bereaved family.

Our Staff Reporter/Agencies

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