QUETTA: Three people including two journalists were killed in a firing incident in Quetta, the capital of Balochistan province on Thursday evening, police said.
Unidentified armed militants barged into the office of news agency, Online and gunned down Irshad Mastoi, the Bureau Chief of the agency. Mastoi's reporter Ghullam Rasool and accountant Muhammad Younas were also killed by the militants.
“All victims received multiple bullets,” Razaq Cheema, the Capital City Police Officer (CCPO) Quetta said.
Despite crowd and high security zone, the assailants managed to escape unhurt from the spot.
Police and Frontier Corps personnel reached the office and started an initial investigation into the incident.
Irshad Mastoi was working as bureau chief of Online news agency and assignment editor ARY.
Dead bodies of the victims were rushed to Civil Hospital in Quetta. A large number of journalists reached the hospital and chanted full-throated slogans against the cold blooded murder of journalists.
Balochistan Union of Journalists (BUJ) strongly condemned the incident and termed it an attack at freedom of expression. Irfan Saeed, the BUJ President announced a three-day mourning to bewail the killings.
Pakistan is ranked by rights groups and watchdogs as the world's most dangerous country for journalists and reporters.
According to media watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF), seven reporters lost their lives in the line of duty in 2013 in the country.
Placing Pakistan as the 158th country out of 180 on its Press Freedom Index, a report by the RSF had noted earlier this year: “The government appears powerless in the Taliban... and the military establishment, which is known as a 'state within a state' among many international observers.”