Wounded Pakistani journalist succumbs to burn injuries

New York, June 17, 2011–The Committee to Protect Journalists joins with our colleagues in Pakistan in mourning the death of of reporter Shafiullah Khan, who died Friday of injuries he had sustained in a June 11 suicide bombing in Peshawar, the administrative center for Pakistan’s strife-torn Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) along the border with Afghanistan. 

Pakistan media reports and the Khyber Union of Journalists said that Khan, 28, died on Friday morning in the intensive care unit of a local hospital.

“We stand with Pakistan’s journalists and the Khan family as they strive to cope with this loss,” said Bob Dietz, CPJ’s Asia program coordinator. “This tragic death underscores the terrible price that Pakistani journalists are paying to bring us the news.

Khan had recently completed his master’s degree in journalism from Gomal University, in the town of Der Ismail Khan in FATA, according to Yousaf Ali, general secretary of the Khyber Union of Journalists. He had been working as a trainee for one week in The News International’s Peshawar bureau when he was wounded, the paper reported.

Local and international media reports said at least 34 people were killed and more than 90 injured in the June 11 double blast. An initial smaller blast at the Khyber Super Market drew a crowd, including journalists covering the story. The second, larger blast, apparently a suicide bomb, went off after the crowd had grown. Asfandyar Khan, who worked with different media organizations and had recently joint Akhbar-e-Khyber, died in the second explosion.

Pakistan had the highest number of killed journalists in the world in 2010. It also ranks 10th on CPJ’s global Impunity Index, which calculates unsolved journalist murders as a percentage of each country’s population. A CPJ delegation met with President Asif Ali Zardari on World Press Freedom Day (May 3), to address the lack of investigations into these murders.