The notorious Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has decided to target journalists and media houses perceived to be working against their extremist agenda, according to an intelligence report.
The report was sent to police and other law-enforcement agencies across the country by the National Crisis Management Cell (NCMC) of the interior ministry.
TTP chief Hakimullah Mehsud has compiled a list of targets and directed the group’s fighters to launch attacks against national and international media outlets in the country, reveals the report. Several prominent journalists are on the list, it added.
According to another intelligence report sent to the LEAs by the NCMC, some terrorist groups have also planned attacks on offices and studios of media houses, especially in Karachi.
In light of the threat, the interior ministry has directed police and other LEAs to tighten security of media outlets in all major cities.
However, an NCMC official told The Express Tribune that the interior ministry has not issued a threat alert so far.
An interior ministry official said intelligence agencies intercepted a phone conversation between Hakimullah Mehsud and a Taliban fighter, Nadeem Abbas alias Intiqami, in which the former directed the latter to take action against media outlets.
Mehsud directed Intiqami to target media outlets and journalists in major cities, including Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Lahore, Peshawar and Karachi who have been critical of the Taliban for attacking Malala Yousafzai.
Some reports stated that the Taliban have also threatened media outlets through emails and phone calls as well.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 14th, 2012.