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Columnist, anchor Raza Rumi attacked, driver loses life

Updated Mar 29, 2014 07:48am


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Columnist and TV anchor Raza Rumi. -Dawn File Photo
Columnist and TV anchor Raza Rumi. -Dawn File Photo

LAHORE: An attack on noted columnist and TV anchor Raza Rumi led to the unfortunate death of his driver Mustafa on Friday evening.

Raza Ahmed, popularly known as Raza Rumi, was injured in an attack along with his guard and driver near Raja Market.

According to TV reports, Rumi escaped with a minor injury and managed to shift his guard and driver to the hospital in critical condition.

However, his driver succumbed to his injuries. The guard’s condition is also said to be critical.

Rumi said he was distraught over his driver's killing, whom he described as “innocent” and a breadwinner for 10 other family members.

“God has saved me. I just heard the... bullets when we took a turn near Raja Market and put my head down,” he told AFP, adding his bodyguard leapt to save him.

“Extremists want no counter narrative in the state that is why they are attacking alternative voices.”

Amnesty International's Pakistan researcher Mustafa Qadri said: “Raza's case is a sad reminder of the threats faced by journalists like him who are promoting human rights and understanding in Pakistan.

“Amnesty International has documented at least three cases of journalists killed this year as a direct result of their work, with scores of others, like Raza, narrowly escaping,” he told AFP.

Earlier this month Pakistan announced it would set up a special commission to protect journalists and will include press freedom as part of peace talks with the Taliban.

In a few updates on Twitter, Rumi shared the incident with his followers.

His followers and peers condemned the incident and sent out tweets supporting him.

This is the fifth attack on Express Media Group. Three staff members of the group lost their lives in an attack earlier this year.

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Comments (46) Closed

muzammil ullah khan Mar 28, 2014 10:01pm

TTP wil say they didnt do it and it was done by the factions which they cant control !! JI will say that the ones who carried out the shooting were Muslims as such they were their brothers and they cant condemn it . Other religious parties will remain to keep quiet and pass it off as a result of some enmity . Such is life in Pakistan . Enjoy.

Ahsan Mar 28, 2014 10:08pm

There's a big problem in Punjab , I think Punjab Govt is afraid of terrorists and even supporting some terrorist groups.

truth hurrts Mar 28, 2014 10:25pm

We all have to pay the prize to be remained silent against the terrorist.

Saad Mar 28, 2014 10:34pm

Stay Safe Raza.. You are an asset of Pakistan and to all those who desire of liberal democratic progressive sane Pakistan

Imran Ahmed Mar 28, 2014 10:40pm

Another innocent life callously taken. Journalist attacked, he survived but will unbiased and courageous journalism? Is the State directly or indirectly complicit in these attacks? A reasonable man uses words for his argument, only the morally and intellectually bankrupt resort to bullets.

Kalaallit Nunaat Mar 28, 2014 10:42pm

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out-- Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out-- Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out-- Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me--and there was no one left to speak for me.

Khushab wala Mar 28, 2014 10:44pm

Shahbaz need to take a long hard look at himself in the mirror. He is protecting and giving free rein to extremists organizations in Punjab. In return,.. to keep his family safe.

Agha Ata Mar 28, 2014 11:27pm

There can be no possible excuse to let it happen, political or religious. And there can be no ethical excuse to not to do anything in response right now with full force and abilities.

Zeeshan Mar 28, 2014 11:41pm

If no one has taken responsibility, let's not jump to any conclusions.

Talat H Mar 28, 2014 11:44pm

This is horrible .......... we are headed to disaster .............. deafening silence !

Mohammad Waseem Mar 28, 2014 11:50pm

As long as we harbor people like Nawaz Sharif, Imran Khan, Chaudhry Nisar, Rana sanaullah, Munawar Hassan, Professor Ibrahim, Mulana Abdul Aziz, Samil Ul Haq, Fazal Rehman, Ansar Abbasi, Orya Maqbool Jan and other like them. We will have enough supporters of murderers and thugs. These people will always use Islam for their benefit and try to kill anyone who decide to criticize them or speak against them. Pakistani people need to leave the computer and TV screen and come out to street against our corrupt politician and coward leaders who are bent on licking the terrorist feet and ready to sell our innocent souls for Saudi dollars.

Rex Minor Mar 28, 2014 11:52pm

Violence must be condemned without any reservation. A sad day for Mustaf and his loved ones. May God rest his soul in peace. There is no need to rush to judgement and start blaming the so called 'Tesstancets' or unknown radicals. This must be thoroughly investigated, there appears to be a conspiracy against the journalists and the media and it is upto the Punjab Police to investigate thoroughly for a change and if need be ask for the assistance of scotland yard investigators. Infact I would suggest that Raza Rumi demand this from the Sharif Government. Rex Minor

sense Mar 28, 2014 11:55pm

do we even know who attacked raza?

Meena Tripathi Mar 29, 2014 12:01am

Stay safe n blessed are an asset to whole south east Asia.

Ganga Din Mar 29, 2014 12:05am

@Khushab wala: You have any proof of this? It could be Zardari.

Mohsin Mar 29, 2014 12:05am

Shocking news another attack on Journalist, shame on government of Punjab

Aftab Kenneth Wilson Mar 29, 2014 12:07am

Only few days back I subscribe to The Raza Rumi Daily News paper. I strongly condemn this cowardly attack on such a brave and outspoken person in which his driver could not survive and his guard is also in critical condition. Government of Punjab needs to understand that their province has now become hub and breeding place for all types of terrorists groups.

Aslam Butt Mar 29, 2014 12:33am

@Mohammad Waseem:

Very well said Waseem.

AZMAISH Mar 29, 2014 12:36am

Very tragic for Raza Rumi, his driver and guard. He's a gem of a writer who was targeted by what,whom and why? This type of ice cold and black hearted cowardice is beyond any human conduct - it's the work of vicious barbarians who are not of this dunya.

What's needed now, after a decade of horrific attacks upon innocent victims, is concrete action - not words and superficial proclamations. Both London and NYC after their own tragedies amped up security monitoring systems hundred fold. Pakistan must do the same!

Needless to say, one should be cautious and smart about their surroundings. Be aware and on guard at all times, no matter where you are - sometimes just keeping a cautious eye on who's following you while driving can save a life. Too many people are busy texting or talking on their mobile phones and aren't on guard. Such passive attitudes can lead to costly mistakes resulting in tragedies.

The government's security apparatus has been extremely neglectful in aggressively putting an end to these attacks. Prevention is the key, not an after the fact "woe is me" reaction. Some common sense solutions which may decrease such brutal attacks:

  1. Private and government cars/buses should carry security cameras on the dashboards and in the rear.
  2. Every city and major town should be awash with security cams high up at all major intersections, high traffic areas as well as at bus stations, train stations, taxi and rickshaw stops, etc.
  3. There should be random stopping and checking of cars ( license plates and ID's of drivers and passengers, with police traffic stops everywhere, as common in America to catch drivers who aren't following traffic laws,ie, inebriated, on drugs or carrying illegal weapons,etc.

With all the money coming in from various sources into Pakistan- why wasn't this money used long ago to implement this type of preventive security?

Big brother monitoring may be the only solution now.We may be giving up our freedoms for a while, yet it's worth it even if one life can be saved - as New Yorkers and Londoners have discovered the hard way.

Ibrahim Mar 29, 2014 12:58am

How do you have peace talks with people who murder journalists, and even little girls? And do you seriously believe such depraved people will honor any agreement when they feel these murders are sanctioned by their religious beliefs?

M. Emad Mar 29, 2014 01:16am

This incidence is the continuation of 1971 intellectual killing.

FAM Mar 29, 2014 01:17am

@Zeeshan : What do you mean? Can there be any conclusion other than a murder was committed

Mohammad Waseem Mar 29, 2014 01:19am

Salute to Raza Rumi for speaking the truth. Shame on the people who talk about Islam but they are not even worth calling humans.

Alam KN Mar 29, 2014 01:39am

This talk with talibans is a smoke screen. If TTP claims that other terrorist groups are not under its control, then why waste time talking to them ? If you speak against them,that probably Raza Rumi did, you immediately become their target. This is an open season on print & electronic media correspondents & TV hosts. So Punjabi talibans are joining their brothers in KPK doing what they did.

Gauhar Mar 29, 2014 01:43am

A so called nuclear power talking to terrorists. are we so weak. hopefully at least army stand up against them. we need Abdul Fattah al-Sisi here in Pakistan.

AKNasir Mar 29, 2014 01:45am

@Mohammad Waseem: None of above have lost a son , a brother, an uncle to terrorists attacks. So they can afford to issue ambiguous statements. Shahbaz Sharif soon will realize that you don't trust a black scorpion hoping that it would not sting.

Vikram Mar 29, 2014 03:08am

It is always sad when innocent people get killed in the name of religion.

El Cid Mar 29, 2014 04:32am

This has to be condemned. However, better still it could have been avoided.

No one targets fair, just and balanced journalism...for the simple reason that all want their voices heard, grievances aired, no matter whose voice is on the other side of the coin.

To strangle suffocate one side, because you can, leads to anger. At times to a disproportionate reaction.This is human nature.

That is why the first rule of professional journalists is objectivity; be reporters of facts, not propaganda pawns. As valves of hope, they defuse anger, not bottle it...explosion !

Tariq khan Mar 29, 2014 04:46am

Looks like punjab gov doesnt know how to deal with terrorism? Its like blackberry doesnt know how to make smartphones! Instead of cm of punjab playing elvis presley with his mic deal with whats accutually happening in his home town?

ahmad butt Mar 29, 2014 05:46am

Unless the government seriously controls the flow of weapons and seizes all illegal arms in the country, no one is safe. Gun control has to be genuinely adovcated.

Syed Amir Mar 29, 2014 06:41am

Another brave and enlightened journalist under attach from the extremists savages. The Government has failed in its primary responsibility of protecting its citizens and those who strive to spread enlightenment through their writings. And, we feel so sad about the demise of the innocent driver.

muneer Mar 29, 2014 07:40am

Never knew him. Saw his webpage.

AL Mar 29, 2014 07:54am

@El Cid: Very well said. I don't know why people don't understand objectivity. Hope they do soon.

gn Mar 29, 2014 09:14am

It is absolutely devastating news. My heart goes to the victim's families.

I see Shireen Mazari tweeting to condemn this news but does she and her party realize that their non-stop maligning of "liberals" and journalists is one of the BIGGEST reason why the hostility against the country's liberals is increasing? Does she and her party realize that their apologist stance is only strengthening the kind of extremists who attacked Mr. Rumi? Does she and her party realize that they are muddying the pool and making the country worse place with each passing day?

Please stop. Please stop maligning the "liberals" and journalists. Please stop verbally attacking those who don't agree with your party's stances. Please learn to agree to disagree. Please let those who disagree with you live.

gn Mar 29, 2014 10:50am

I think political parties should not demonize journalists who they don't agree with. And we all know certain right-wing parties do their utmost to malign journalists and "liberals" who they don't agree with. NFP made the same point more elegantly earlier on twitter.

sahi Mar 29, 2014 12:08pm

@Mohammad Waseem: What else we can expect from them . They must keep in mind that next they will feel the heat from these people who are trying to suppress all kind of voices. God should help the people of this country. Rulers on doing Politics on the dead bodies of Innocent people.

sounder Mar 29, 2014 01:22pm

Every sane man on earth should condemn such attack on journalists. Worst still what had his driver got to do with all this. It follows the massacre of an Afghan journalist along with his wife and kids. Unimaginable insanity, to say the least.

Tipu Mar 29, 2014 02:28pm

Reason will win, it has to win; if I have to survive!

FAM Mar 29, 2014 07:10pm

@Tipu: Reason will prevail? Among us Pakistanis?? I am afraid we are doomed.

malick Mar 29, 2014 10:59pm

sory for driver, Raza stay safe. Terrorist are blind, Terrorist never saw NS, SS, HS, and punjab cabinet. Punjab cabinet and CM punjab are suporting Terririst.

Sandeep Mar 30, 2014 03:54am

Don't worry...Govt will hold peace talks with assailants ; )

Ayan Mar 30, 2014 11:09am

@Mohammad Waseem:

No one dare to nominate... Nawaz Sharif, Imran Khan, Chaudhry Nisar, Rana sanaullah, Munawar Hassan, Professor Ibrahim, Mulana Abdul Aziz, Samil Ul Haq, Fazal Rehman, Ansar Abbasi, Orya Maqbool Jan, Ahmed Ludhanvi, Aurangzeb Farooqi, Malik Ishaq and other like them in a single FIR............. Why to cry then!

Agha Ata Mar 30, 2014 08:00pm

Attack on a journalist is an attack on free speech, and an attack on the right of the people to know the truth, and it is like bulldozing the important pillar without which the democracy can never stand. The attacker is not evil; No he is not. He is just stupid, knows absolutely nothing how to be free and happy and prosperous! By attacking a journalist he gets nothing but takes the whole country many many years backward.

A journalist is the most respectable member of the society, much more than a politician or even a mullah. A politician always speaks to please the people, a mullah usually speaks his mind, but a journalist is a truth gatherer he brings you the best, you can be fed on to live in this world. Even a politician or a mullah cannot live without him. When a journalist speaks he is teaching not a class of few dozen students; he is teaching the whole nation. When a journalist is killed, the whole nation dies a little; when he is injured the whole nations is injured with him!

Jamal Mar 30, 2014 08:41pm

What Pak needs is a Kamal AtaTurk from the armed forces who rules under Marshall Law. He must launch a clean sweep of Taliban, all Lashkars, Hizb's etc as well as armed factions of political parties. You've seen how Zia's Islamization has changed Pakistan. Now give secularism a chance. Bring Pakistan into the 21st century. Or continue down the path of total destruction!

Raza Mar 31, 2014 01:27am

People who suppress the power of the press are the ones we should be very much afraid of. These are the "foreign hands" that the JI and PTI make so much noise about.

I hope that one day the common man in the street in Pakistan will rise up in arms to these thugs who are increasingly targeting people of Pakistan.

ali Mar 31, 2014 04:18am

@AZMAISH : Lol wake up bro to the real pakistan