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Pakistan journalist narrowly escapes bombing

Third attempt on Jamshed Baghwan, latest attack on Express TV employees reporter, Peshawar

July 3, 2014

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A broadcast journalist working for Express News Channel narrowly escaped assassination in Pakistan’s troubled Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province on Wednesday.

It was the third attack on the journalist in four months, and the latest in a series of recent attacks on the news channel and its employees.

Jamshed Baghwan, Express TV’s Peshawar bureau chief, was about to get into his car with his wife outside their home in the Murshiedabad neighborhood of the restive city at about 11am, when they spotted someone acting suspiciously, local media reports said.

The bomb exploded just as the couple ran back into their house, the reports added.

Baghwan and his wife were unhurt, but their car was badly damaged.

“I fail to understand why I have become a target. I have no enmity with anybody nor have I received any threats,” he later told by phone.

“Police suspect the involvement of extortionists. But why would they target me as I am not a well-off person,” he said.

On April 6, a masked man hurled a grenade at the journalist’s home, while on March 19 a bomb planted outside his house was diffused.

No one has claimed responsibility for the attacks, but the Pakistani Taliban has recently targeted Express TV for being what it calls “propagandist”.

Raza Rumi, an analyst and well-known news anchor survived a gun attack in Lahore on March 28, in which his driver, Mustafa, was killed and he was injured.

In January this year, gunmen shot dead three Express News staffers in southern city of Karachi.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for these attacks.

Wednesday’s attack on Baghwan drew condemnation from the government and journalist groups.

“The government would take all possible steps to provide security to working journalists so that they could perform their duties with their professional ethos. The enemies of the nation who wanted to see instability in the state would not succeed in their nefarious designs,” Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid said.

Reporters Without Borders (RWB) also denounced the bombing.

“We are outraged by this latest murder attempt targeting an Express News journalist and his family,” said Benjamin Ismaïl, head of RWB’s Asia-Pacific desk.

“We urge the authorities to react quickly and to assign security personnel to protect their home.”

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