QUETTA: Two journalists and an accountant of a news agency were shot dead here on Thursday.

Armed men barged into the bureau office of Online news agency at about 7.45pm and opened fire with automatic weapons, killing its bureau chief Irshad Mastoi, reporter Abdul Rasool Khajak and accountant Mohammad Younis on the spot. The killers escaped.

Sources said police could not reach the scene immediately, causing delay in taking the injured to hospital.

Hospital sources said all victims received multiple bullet injuries in their head and chest.

The motive for the killings could not be ascertained.

“We are investigating the incident and will be able to say something after completing it,” a senior police officer said.

No-one has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Irshad Mastoi, 37, left behind a wife, a one year-old son and two daughters.

A very active journalist, writer and trade union leader, Mr Mastoi was secretary general of the Balochistan Union of Journalists. He was also working as script editor for ARY News channel at its Quetta bureau.

Irshad Mastoi started his career as a reporter with a local newspaper, worked at daily Mashriq, Quetta, as a feature writer and later joined Online.

Abdul Rasool Khajak was a final year student of Mass Communication at Balochistan University. He had completed a three-month internship at a news channel recently. He was working as a reporter at Online.

Mohammad Younis was working as an accountant in the news agency for several years.

More than 30 journalists have fallen victim to target killing in Balochistan over the past five years, but not a single accused has been arrested.

Soon after the incident, journalists covering the Balo­chistan Assembly proceedings rushed to the Civil Hos­pital. They blocked Jinnah road and staged a sit-in.

The protesting journalists, chanting slogans against the government, also staged a sit-in at the entrance of the red zone. Later, police allowed them to march towards the Governor and Chief Minister Houses.

The bodies of Irshad Mastoi and Abdul Rasool Khajak were dispatched to their native towns Jacobabad and Sibi for burial.

Published in Dawn, August 29th, 2014

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