March 24, 2023
By Rehan Piracha
Police have still not been able to apprehend or trace suspects who attacked the residence of a Geo News channel reporter in Kohat as the Kohat Press Club held a demonstration to protest the incident.
On March 21, unidentified terrorists lobbed hand grenades and fired shots at the main gate of the house of Syed Yasir Shah, district correspondent for The News International and Geo. However, the inmates remained unharmed but the gate and the house were partially damaged in the attack.
No culprits nabbed in previous cases: Yasir Shah
Speaking with Voicepk.net on Friday, Syed Yasir Shah said he had faced threats and attacks since he began reporting from the restive region in 2007. “Despite several first information reports relating to threats and attacks on me, the police had never been able to nab the offenders,” he told Voicepk.net. Prior to the attack, a source had asked Yasir Shah to lie low as the security situation was changing rapidly.
Yasir Shah said his relatives living in nearby houses opened fire at the attackers who fled the scene. According to Yasir Shah, splinter groups of the defunct Tehrik Taliban Pakistan were gaining a foothold in the tribal districts and adjacent districts. “A new young generation of militants, who were children at the time of military operations in the tribal areas in 2008, is now at the forefront of terrorist attacks on military personnel, policemen, and journalists,” he added.
Yasir Shah lamented that the provincial government was doing little to protect journalists reporting on terrorist activities in the region. Apart from the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Inspector General of Police, nobody from the provincial government has contacted me over the attack,” he said. Yasir Shah said he feared for the safety of his wife and young children but going into hiding for safety was not an option as the militants had a network across the country.
Journalists threaten boycott
Meanwhile, the office-bearers of the Kohat Press Club organised a demonstration in Kohat to protest the attack on their colleague. The journalists’ body issued an ultimatum to the administration to arrest the perpetrators within 72 hours. Malik Faisal Nadeem, General Secretary, Kohat Press Club, said nobody from the police and administration had explained to the journalist body about the perpetrators of the attack and announced measures to increase security for journalists in the district.
“The members of the Kohat Press Club would boycott press conferences of district administration and police if they failed to apprise the journalists body about the investigation into the attack on Yasir Shah’s house,”
The Committee to Protect Journalists and the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) have both declared Pakistan the most dangerous country for journalists—more perilous than Mexico, Afghanistan, and Iraq.