Amid tears and sobs, the young photojournalist Zubair Hatami, whose life was cut short in a tragic incident, was consigned to his last resting place in Kabul on Sunday.
Hundreds of his friends, overwhelmed with emotions, carried his pictures and marched towards the cemetery in De Mazang area of Kabul.
A large number of people, including his friends and colleagues, attended his funeral in Kabul on Sunday. Many of them were inconsolable as his coffin was carried from his home to the cemetery.
The smiling face of Hatami was shining bright from a big portrait next to his coffin, which was surrounded by his friends, all of them struggling to hold back their tears.
The young and bright journalist, who was working for Kabul-based Mitra Televsion, was critically wounded in a suicide attack at Esteqlal High School on December 11, which left 2 dead and 20 injured.
The 23-year-old Hatami, who was in a coma for past 10 days, breathed his last at Wazir Akbar Khan Hospital in Kabul on Saturday night.
His tragic and untimely demise has been widely condoled by the media fraternity in Afghanistan and abroad, terming it a “great loss” and a “void that cannot be filled”.
His friends who attended the funeral remembered him as a humble soul who was passionate about his work, loved his family and his country.
Hatami came from a poor background, had two brothers – one elder to him and one younger. His father passed away a few years ago.
Despite financial constraints, he was always ambitious and wanted to pursue his dreams, according to his friends and family. Now he has taken all his dreams with him.
His friends and colleagues fondly recall the moments spent with him. “He was extremely hard working and had single-minded dedication towards his work,” says Shakib, a photojournalist.
The social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter have been abuzz with the news about his death. His pictures have metastasized through reposts on Twitter and Facebook.
One of the posts on Facebook paid poignant tribute to the slain journalist, calling him the braveheart and his killers the losers. “You won Zubair, and your killers lost miserably,” read the post.
Hatami was covering a theatrical performance ‘Heartbeat’ at Esteqlal Public School auditorium when a teenage suicide bomber stormed inside the packed hall and detonated his explosives.
Taliban claimed responsibility for the gruesome attack, saying the attack was against the “immorality” being spread through the theatrical shows at the auditorium.
National Directorate of Security (NDS), the premier security and intelligence agency of the Afghan government, said the attack was carried out by Haqqani Network.
Some other journalists from local media organizations were also injured in the attack, but Hatami’s condition was critical over the past ten days.
Nazir Ikhlas, a photojournalist who has known Hatami, says the killing of unarmed civilians and journalists is reprehensible and unjustified.
The tragic killing of Hatami is a reminder that journalists in Afghanistan continue to walk the tightrope, trapped between the devil and deep sea.
Despite the progress and achievements of mass media in Afghanistan over the past ten years, there are still many challenges facing the journalists in this country.
According to Afghanistan Journalists’ Center (AFJC), an independent body working to defend the rights of Afghan journalists, at least 46 journalists has been killed in Afghanistan since 1994.
According to Nai-Supporting Open Media in Afghanistan, a leading media advocacy organisation, the level of violence against journalists in Afghanistan has assumed alarming proportions.
According to latest UNAMA report, 2014 has been the deadliest year for Afghanistan with 19 percent increase in civilian casualties.
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