Peshawar, Nov 18 : After Pakistan's Tribal Areas (FATA) and Balochistan province, Peshawar, the NWFP capital, too has become an off-limit area for foreign journalists working in the country. This was demonstrated by Friday's incident wherein a couple of armed Taliban men made an unsuccessful bid to kidnap Afghan journalist Sami Yousafzai, reported the Daily Times.
The scribe is presently recuperating in a hospital with multiple bullet wounds in various parts of his body.
Foreign journalists feel that threats (to them) had increased in the wake of with the recent spurt in military strikes on the Tribal Areas in pursuit of Taliban elements. They say that pressure from either the Taliban or the security forces is making their job difficult in the country, added the paper.
Yousafzai had been working in Pakistan since /11 attacks in the US, but he never came as close to death as he was on Friday. "I think divine intervention saved me. The gunman was less than a metre away from me," the paper quoted an injured Sami as saying.
In the kidnapping bid, he received bullet wounds in his chest, left arm and right hand.
Had the attempt been successful, it would have been the first kidnapping of a foreign journalist in Peshawar. Such kidnappings are frequent in Afghanistan where western reporters are abducted and released after payment of ransom.
Reacting to the incident, Rahimullah Yousafzai, a Peshawar-based journalist, said: "It seems Peshawar is becoming a no-go area for foreign journalists. Threats to journalists have increased with the increase in military operations in the Tribal Areas."
Concerns for the safety of foreigners in Peshawar have never been higher with the recent kidnappings of an Afghan envoy and an Iranian diplomat and the killing of a US aid worker in the city. Seven journalists have been killed until November 8 this year. Qari Muhammad Shoaib was killed by security forces' firing in Swat while Abdul Aziz was killed in an airstrike after Taliban kidnapped him in August, added the paper.