LAHORE / KARACHI: In response to yesterday’s attack on the offices of the Express Media Group in Karachi, journalists boycotted the Punjab Assembly, Express News reported on Tuesday.
Giving the government an ultimatum, they demanded that those responsible for the attack should be arrested within the next 72 hours. They added that if they were not caught in the given period of time, journalists would hold country-wide rallies.
On Monday, at least four armed assailants riding motorbikes threw two home-made bombs and had indiscriminate fired at the entrance to the building. A security guard, Faizan Ali, was injured as a result.
The journalists’ community strongly condemned the attack, terming it an act of terror.
The press gallery leader said “we condemn this attack and we will show people that the media is not a soft target.”
The leader of the press club, Arshad Ansari, said that ‘condemn’ is not a strong enough word. Addressing political leaders, he asked where the people responsible for the earlier attack on the Express Media Group are, adding that “in the country’s history, this is the first grenade attack on the press.”
“We will not leave this place until the responsible parties are not brought forward,” Ansari stated.
Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) leader said that if the men who attacked the Express Media Group offices are not brought to justice within the next 72 hours, country-wide protests and rallies will be held.
The earlier attack on the same building on August 16 had left two staff members injured.
Members of the media community gathered outside the Karachi Press Club to protest the attack on Express Media Group office in the city.
A few politicians also attended the demonstration.
Condemning the attack
Alliance for Access strongly condemned the attack on the Express Media Group office in Karachi.
Alliance for Access is a nationwide coalition of civil society organizations, corporations, media houses, telecommunication companies, academics, and student groups to promote open access in Pakistan,
“We are appalled and disappointed by the lack of security provided to the Express group office in Karachi, despite being under constant threat,” a press release by the coalition stated.
According to the Committee for Protection of Journalists, over 24 journalists were targeted & killed for their work in Pakistan. Pakistan is on the 8th spot in the CPJ’s 2013 Impunity Index, which spotlights countries where journalists are murdered regularly and killers go free.
Leaders and politicians of all major parties and members of the journalist community unanimously condemned the attack.
Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Pervaiz Rashid had said in a statement that those involved in this heinous crime would be punished.
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan had said in a statement that “we demand an immediate inquiry of the incident,” adding that the government should provide security to journalists and media houses.
Exclusively speaking to Express News, chief of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) Altaf Hussain had denounced the attack. He had said that it was targeted because its newspapers and channel conduct impartial reporting, unlike other media groups.
Senator Haji Muhammad Adeel of the Awami National Party had also slammed the incident and urged the government to make security arrangements for the working journalists.