A 40-year-old journalist died covering a political rally in Pakistan after she was run over by a truck carrying former prime minister Imran Khan.
The journalist and mother of two, Sadaf Naeem, lost her balance while trying to climb atop a slow moving container truck and was crushed under it, Reuters reported. The ousted leader, who is calling for snap elections, called Naeem’s death on Sunday in Lahore “a terrible accident” and has suspended his rally.
In a video shared by news outlet DawnNews, whose cameraman was at the site, men are seen struggling to pull her out from under the truck. Another video shared by Pakistani media outlet Naya Daur shows the last moments of Naeem, when she was chasing the moving vehicle in close proximity.
Pakistani politicians, especially Khan, have a long history of using shipping containers as an accessory during political rallies. These giant steel boxes, which were originally used by the government as barriers during protests and rallies by opposition parties, are used as mobile stages. Some are bullet-proof and equipped with meeting facilities, bathrooms and staircases.
On Sunday, the government said it would provide $38,000 in financial aid to the family of the deceased reporter, who worked for the outlet Channel 5. Pakistani officials told the media they will bear the living costs and educational expenses of her children.
But journalists in Pakistan question the role of media companies in failing to give safety training to their journalists.
“It’s time we ask whether #SadafNaeem’s death could’ve been prevented if she had adequate personal protection training or protection gears?” tweeted Pakistani journalist Sarah Atiq. “Why do local media orgs not invest in providing its journalists with protection gears & Hostile Environment Training?”
According to reports, Naeem was the breadwinner for her family and had worked as a journalist for 12 years. Over the years, she had interviewed Khan several times for her channel.
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