New York, April 19, 2009—The Committee to Protect Journalists is saddened by the death of Azamat Ali Bangash, a correspondent for Saama TV. According to the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ), Bangash was killed in an April 17 suicide bombing while covering food distribution in a refugee camp near Orakzai, in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas near the border with Afghanistan. Ali was the second Saama journalists killed in a suicide bombing in two days.
“We extend our condolences to Azamat Ali Bangash’s family and colleagues at Samaa TV,” said Bob Dietz, CPJ’s Asia program coordinator. “Journalists are increasingly at risk with the escalating violence in Pakistan.”
Saturday’s bombing was one of five in northwest Pakistan between Friday and Monday. Local and international media reports say that as many as 47 refugees from ongoing fighting in northwest Pakistan died when a pair of suicide bombers minutes apart attacked a line of people waiting at a food distribution point. According to the BBC and CNN, the Sunni sectarian group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi claimed responsibility for the explosions, which specifically targeted Shiite refugees.
On Friday, senior Samaa TV cameraman, Malik Arif was killed and five other journalists were injured in a suicide bombing at a hospital in Quetta, in Baluchistan province.
In its statement announcing Bangash’s death, the PFUJ said: “The time has come for all stake holders and the government to take measures for safety and protection of media persons.” In early February, three vicious bomb blasts in Pakistan wounded three reporters. CPJ reported on the killings on our blog in “Time to step up protection for media in Pakistan.”