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ISLAMABAD: The hollow-cheeked father of the slain television cameraman, Imran Sheikh, burst into tears while narrating the ordeal of his family.
Imran Sheikh was killed in the line of duty during the recent bombings in Pakistan’s southwestern city of Quetta, along with Saifur Rehman of Samaa TV and Iqbal Hussain, a photographer for NNI.
He said he was very happy when Imran got a job as cameraman at Samaa TV, and added that he never thought his son was in a dangerous profession.
Imran’s two orphaned daughters, two-year-old Amna and one-year-old Hafza, were playing with dolls when we were offering fateha for the departed soul. As a father, he doted on them.
“It pains me when they speak of their father,” Kamran Sheikh, the girls’ uncle, said.
Living in a mud-and-brick house with two rooms, the family has lost its sole breadwinner.
Imran had been working in Samaa TV since the beginning of 2008. He was considered one of the most talented cameramen in the city.
“Ironically, Imran used to advise us to avoid going to dangerous spots,” Shehzad Anwar, a DawnNews cameraman, said.
“Please cover explosions from a distance and zoom in the visuals, he used to tell us,” Shehzad remarked.
Imran died when the second explosion hit the Alamdar road area on January 10.
TV channels reported his death, which was followed by the news of Saifur Rehman’s killing. Rehman worked as reporter for the same channel.
Saif was initially missing, and the authorities confirmed his death four hours after the explosion. The intensity of the blast had damaged their bodies and faces and they could not be easily recognised.
Over 24 journalists have fallen prey to bullets and bomb blasts in different parts of violence-plagued Balochistan over the past six years. The murderers are still at large and the authorities appear helpless.
While reporting on such heinous crimes, journalists live through a deep sense of insecurity. Many media organisations, whether print or electronic, don’t train cameramen or reporters to report from a safe distance.
More than 26 journalists were injured during different suicide attacks, bomb explosions and firing because they had not been instructed to avoid standing on the crime scene after its clearance by law-enforcement personnel.
Two cameramen, Ejaz Raisani and Arif Malik, were killed in the same incidents.
The rating race between the channels puts lives of reporters, cameramen and DSNG staff in peril.