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Pakistan: Journalist killed in bomb attack on World Press Freedom Day

Khuzdar Press Club president and senior journalist Muhammad Siddique Mengal was killed on May 3 after an unknown man planted and detonated an explosive in his vehicle in Khuzdar, Balochistan. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and its affiliate, the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ), strongly condemn the targeted killing of Mengal and urge the Pakistani government to launch a thorough investigation into the incident and ensure the safety of journalists.

Mengal was killed by a magnetic bomb blast in Chamrok area of ​​Khuzdar on Sultan Ibrahim Road, National Highway in Khuzdar district of Balochistan. Police said at least nine others were injured in the explosion, which killed Mengal and two other men. According to SHO City, Muhammad Siddique Mengal was traveling to attend Friday prayers at the Khuzdar Engineering University mosque at the time of the attack.

In a closed circuit television intake The attack, widely reported on social media, shows a currently unidentified assailant on a motorcycle attacking Mengal’s car with an explosive device seconds before the device detonates. Police reports to the media indicate that the attackers used a homemade ‘magnet bomb’, which was attached to the door of the car before being detonated remotely.

Working as a journalist since 1997, Mengal was known for his contributions to local daily Bakhabar, Independent News Pakistan and Nawa e Waqt. The journalist had previously survived an attempt on his life after unknown assailants shot into his vehicle on August 11, 2023. No arrests or updates to security measures were made following this attack.

The murder was Met with protests by journalists in Quetta and condolences from Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Minister of Information and Broadcasting Attaullah Tarar. According to the police, the motive behind these attacks is still unknown. The investigation is ongoing, but no group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

The Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) said: “The perpetrators must be arrested immediately and a thorough investigation into this attack must be conducted.”

IFJ Secretary General Anthony Bellanger said: “The Government of Pakistan must immediately implement measures to ensure the safety and security of media workers, in accordance with its legal obligations. The killers of Muhammad Siddique Mengal and other journalists across Pakistan should not escape with impunity. These attacks not only endanger the safety of individual journalists, but also undermine the fundamental rights of freedom of the press and freedom of expression.”