One journalist killed, two injured in suicide blast


New York, March 4, 2008—The Committee to Protect Journalists extends its condolences to the family and colleagues of Siraj Uddin, a correspondent for the daily Nation, who died in the February 29 suicide bombing in Mingora, Pakistan. The bombing, which took the lives of more than 40 people, took place at the funeral of a slain police officer.

“We extend our sympathy to the family of Siraj Uddin, who lost his life while fulfilling his role as a journalist,” said Joel Simon, CPJ’s executive director. “It is a sad fact that Pakistan is a country where journalists often have to pay the highest price for working in their profession.”

Two other journalists were injured in the attack: Hazrat Bilal of the local newspaper Shawal¸ who was hospitalized for his wounds, and Munawar Afridi, who writes for the English-language daily Dawn and other papers, suffered lesser injuries.

“We also extend our sympathy and hopes for a quick recovery to Hazrat Bilal and Munawar Afridi, injured in the same senseless act of violence,” Simon said.

Mingora is in the Swat Valley in the tumultuous North West Frontier Province. Anti-government militants had taken over much of the area in 2007, although government forces reasserted some degree of authority by the beginning of 2008. Control of the area has not been fully settled.