Blast at Pajhwok Jalalabad office widely condemned
KABUL (Pajhwok): Wednesday night’s bomb blast at Pajhwok Afghan News bureau office in the capital of eastern Nangarhar province was widely condemned on Thursday.
The blast took place shortly after 8pm at the entrance to the bureau office, injuring at least four guests at the nearby office of the American broadcaster Voice of America in the Ghalji plaza in Jalalabad city.
The blast also damaged all office equipment and fortunately the staff members were not present at the bureau at the time of the blast caused by a magnet bomb.
Representatives of various media outlets, media advocacy groups, including NAI, members of the national union of journalists, civil society activists and journalists in the eastern zone visited the Pajhwok Afghan News bureau to express solidarity.
The visitors held a gathering in front of the Pajhwok office and strongly denounced the incident, with journalists issuing a three-article resolution.
NAI representative Abbas Sadat read out the resolution that condemned in the strongest words the attack on the Pajhwok bureau office and described it an attack on the freedom of expression and journalists.
The resolution urged the government, particularly security organs, to seriously and thoroughly investigate the incident and to protect journalists from such attacks.
Asif Shinwari, member of the union of journalists in the eastern zone, told Pajhwok Afghan “we all are with Pajhwok and we condemn the attack in the strongest possible terms.”
He said journalists were concerned about the attack and the government should pay exclusive attention to their protection.
Ahmad Zia Abdulzai, the provincial governor’s spokesman, also attended the gathering in front of the Pajhwok bureau office.
He said the governor, Salim Khan Kunduzi, had strongly condemned the attack and had directed the Nangarhar police chief to complete the investigation soon.
Abdulzai said the government and security departments were making efforts to protect journalists.
Pajhwok correspondent in Nangarhar, Zeerak Fahim, said nothing at the office had been left undamaged.
Meanwhile, journalists, media support organisations, civil society groups and a number of government officials condemned the blast at the Pajhwok office during press conferences.
They interpreted the attack as an attack on the freedom of expression, the pillar of any democratic society.
They were briefed about the incident by Pajhwok Afghan News regional office in-charge in Mazar-i-Mazar, Zabihullah Ihsas.
Gulab Shah Bawar, the head of the journalists’ union in the north, condemned the attack and called it an attack on the freedom of speech.
He said the government and security forces should investigate the incident and take measures for the protection of media offices.
Civil society activist Abdul Qadar Misbah said the attack was a matter of great concern because it showed the enemies of the freedom of expression had reached media offices and were detonating bombs.
He said the attack would leave negative impacts on media organisations and the government should come with remedial measures.
Nehad Mardi civil society group leader in Mazar-i-Sharif and Arzo Television channel head Najib Pikan also condemned the attack on Pajhwok office.
They demanded the central government protect the freedom of expression.
Similarly, the press club in southern Kandahar province issued a statement strongly denouncing the incident. The statement asked the government to arrest the perpetrators and award them punishment.
“All journalists of Kandahar thank Allah the Almighty for saving Pajhwok Afghan News reporter Zeerak Fahim and cameraman Babrak Amirzada.”
The incident was condemned by journalists in southeastern Paktia and several other provinces and the Centre of Journalists of Afghanistan in a statement condemned the incident as terrorist attack.
In New York, the Committee to Protect Journalists said it was greatly concerned by the bomb attack on the Pajhwok Afghan News agency's Jalalabad office.
"We call for the Nangahar government to fully investigate this attack,” CPJ's Asia program coordinator, Bob Dietz, said.
He said Afghan journalists played an important role in their country's burgeoning democracy and must be protected. "At the same time, given the level of impunity with which such attacks occur, we also remind Afghan journalists to maintain their own high standards of security."
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