PESHAWAR, May 10: A tribal journalist, Nasrullah Afridi, was killed when an explosive device ripped through his vehicle at Khyber Super Market here on Tuesday night.

Eyewitnesses said that the device exploded with a loud bang leaving behind a completely gutted vehicle and a crater on the road. The body of the deceased was also charred beyond recognition.

They said that the explosion took place when Mr Afridi came out of the office of Tribal Union of Journalists (TUJ), Khyber Agency Unit, where he was a regular visitor, and embarked in his Suzuki Alto car. They added that the blast also damaged three vehicles and smashed windowpanes in the nearby buildings.

The journalist, belonging to Shalobar clan of Bara, was correspondent of Pakistan television and Urdu Daily Mashriq. He had also served as president of TUJ, Khyber Agency Unit.

Sources said that he was not in good books of the Bara-based militant organisation, Lashkar-i-Islam. He had shifted to Hayatabad Township along with his family few years ago after receiving threats. His friends said that some unidentified persons had also hurled hand grenades at his residence in Hayatabad in 2007, but he and his family members had remained unhurt in the attack.

Provincial Information Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain, who visited the spot, claimed that it was a targeted blast and the militants had now been killing journalists. “Apparently the explosive device was fitted in the vehicle. It might be either a remote controlled device or connected with the switch of the vehicle,” he said.

The minister said that their war against militancy would continue and it was their resolve to eliminate militants as they were killing innocent citizens. “Nasrullah Afridi had started his career over a decade ago and was very hard working and dedicated journalist,” said former president of Tribal Union of Journalists, Ibrahim Shinwari.—Bureau Report

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