PESHAWAR, PAKISTAN - Several Pakistani media outlets were attacked recently by assailants who left pamphlets on the scene containing threats from the Islamic State group.
The latest came this week when a television station in Lahore was targeted in a hand grenade attack by assailants riding motorcycles. Four people were injured in the incident Tuesday night at DIN News.
In a similar attack last month, three employees of another television channel, Dunya News, were injured. Pamphlets thrown following the attack claimed that the attack was carried out by IS’s Khorasan branch.
Another media employee was injured last week when unidentified gunmen attacked a Dawn News digital satellite news van in Karachi.
Pakistani officials have downplayed the presence of IS in the country. But the recent attacks on media have kindled fears that the militant group has been successful in making inroads into a nation ripe for IS activities.
Pakistan already is ranked as one of the most dangerous places for journalists, as around 30 have been killed there since 2010, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.
Pakistani journalists in Punjab and Sindh provinces on Wednesday protested the IS attacks.
“The pamphlets by the organization explicitly threaten us,” an official of DIN TV told VOA’s Deewa service.
Pakistani media has been increasingly reporting on signs of IS activities.
Pro-IS slogans and graffiti have appeared in several major cities.
“There has been wall chalking by IS in Lahore, Karachi, southern Punjab, in several cities,” Amin Yousuf, the secretary general of the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists, told VOA.
The Punjab Home Department alerted police and the Counter-Terrorism Department in the province last week to be on alert for possible IS attacks on civilian and military installations.
The Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah, however, described the "threat alert" as being "a routine matter."
But Noreen Naseer, a professor of political science at the University of Peshawar, told VOA the Pakistan government should be cautious about the IS presence in the country.
“IS poses a clear danger and has presence in the region,” Naseer said. “The Pakistan government should not ignore the fact.”
In neighboring Afghanistan, where IS has been launching attacks against government forces and civilians, the Afghan Taliban recently threatened Afghan journalists working for two TV outlets, Tolo TV and 1TV.