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Second Pakistani media worker shot dead in as many days

September 9, 2015

Unidentified gunmen shot dead a Pakistani TV journalist in Karachi on Wednesday, less than a day after a similar attack on a news van in the same city killed a technician.

Aftab Alam was targeted by two gunmen on a motorcycle while he was reversing his car outside his home in a central district of the port city in the afternoon.

“He was targeted by two motorcycle riders waiting for him outside his home,” deputy inspector general of police Feroze Shah told AFP.

He was struck by three bullets — two in the head and one in the neck, added Shah.

Alam had last worked for leading channel Samaa TV before retiring due to ill health last year, a colleague told AFP.

The attack was the third on a media worker within 24 hours after gunmen sprayed bullets on a Geo News TV van Tuesday night, killing a satellite engineer in the Bahadurabad neighbourhood of eastern Karachi and injuring the driver.

Also on Tuesday night, gunmen shot at Abdul Azam Shinwari, a 52-year-old newspaper journalist based in Peshawar.

Shinwari sustained four bullet injuries in the lower part of his body and was immediately taken to hospital where doctors have so far removed three of them, according to senior local police official Rana Umar.

Shah, the senior police officer, said that it was too early to say whether the killings of the journalist and technician in Karachi were linked.

Amin Yusuf, secretary general of the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists said: “Journalists are being targeted ruthlessly,” urging authorities to take concrete action to prevent such violence.

The International Federation of Journalists last year termed Pakistan the most dangerous country for media, with 14 journalists killed there in 2014 alone.

Karachi, a port city of some 20 million and Pakistan’s economic hub, is frequently hit by Islamist, political and ethnic violence.

Paramilitary forces began a sweeping crackdown on militants in the city in 2013, which has led to a substantial drop in overall levels of violence.

Dispatches from AFP concerning freedom of information, censorship and news coverage in regions where independent media is under threat.