Reporters Without Borders today urged the Pakistani authorities to act effectively to protect Kamal Asfar, journalist on the magazine Ash-Sharq (The East), who yesterday escaped a murder attempt. His brother, journalist, Aamir Wakil, was killed in Rawalpindi on 24 January 2009.
“I am lucky to be alive today”, Asfar told the worldwide press freedom organisation. Two bearded men had fired several shots at his car near Kundyali in the Kohat district on Sunday, he said.
“I was returning to Rawalpindi when a white car overtook us and tried to make us pull up. Two armed men turned towards us and opened fire. They first time they fired I didn’t stop. Then they shot again shattering the windscreen. I lost control of the vehicle and we left the road. Luckily we got out safely”, Asfar said, adding that he had reported the attack to police in Ghumbat, Kohat district.
Asfar said he thought the attack may have been motivated by articles he wrote recently about the Pakistani Taliban in Ash-Sharq. He had also reported on religious parties, Kashmir and the situation in Afghanistan, he said.
Police have made no arrests in connection with the murder of his brother Wakil (see the release) but Asfar said he had given two names of suspects - both hired killers - to the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) which they had passed on to the interior ministry.
“Faced with the determination of the killers, the local and federal authorities should take the necessary steps to protect Kamal Asfar”, Reporters Without Borders said. “If the killers can target two brothers, both of them journalists, it is because they feel they can act with an impunity which has unfortunately become the rule in Pakistan”.
Read the previous press release