KARACHI: Three employees of a news channel were shot dead in North Nazimabad on Friday evening in an attack claimed by the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan. The three were among at least 10 people, including a senior leader of the JUI-Sami, who lost their lives in violence and targeted-attacks in the city amid an ongoing ‘targeted-operation’.
Even before the claim from a senior TTP man was aired in a live talk show of the Express News, which had been attacked at least thrice in recent months, officials believed that the attack on the digital satellite news gathering (DSNG) vehicle was connected with the earlier attacks on its head office near Qayyumabad roundabout allegedly by militant groups.
Karachi Central SSP Amir Farooqi said four armed men on two motorbikes emerged at the Board Office traffic intersection where the van of the news channel was stationed. Two of the assailants got off the bikes and opened indiscriminate fire on the van. The assailants, wearing shalwar qameez, escaped after the shooting.
A technician, driver and a guard suffered multiple bullet wounds in the heads and chests. They were taken to the nearby Abbasi Shaheed Hospital, but doctors declared them dead.
The victims -- Waqas Aziz, Ashraf Yusuf and Khalid Khan -- were aged between 20 and 30 years.
The SSP said that the police found 13 spent bullet casings from the van and four outside the vehicle.
Police said it appeared that the assailants had used silencer-fitted .30-bore pistols because the area people did not hear gunshots.
A cameraman sleeping at the rear of the van remained unhurt.
The SSP linked the attack with two previous attacks on the headquarters of the media group.
He suspected that militants belonging to banned outfits might have carried out the attack because the scene of the crime was close to the militancy-infested Banaras area.
About a couple of hours later, Javed Chaudhry, host of Express News talk show ‘Kal Tak’, held a live telephonic conversation with former TTP spokesman Ahsanullah Ahsan. He claimed responsibility for the attack and vowed to continue to target media organisations if they did not give up “partiality while covering the war on terror”.
“The media has become party in the whole affair,” he alleged. “We carried out today’s attack and we will also target the news channels which have become part of this game. We also suggest to the media men to look for other decent jobs rather than contributing their efforts for these channels.”
Earlier, at least seven people, including JUI-S leader Mufti Usman Yar Khan, were killed in attacks in various parts of the city.
Meanwhile, the police and Rangers claimed to have made more arrests in a ‘targeted-operation’, although peace remained a distant dream for Karachiites.