IFJ Condemns Killing of Journalist in Balochistan

The International

Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is alarmed to learn of the killing of another journalist

in Pakistan’s

Balochistan province on August 14.

According to the Pakistan Federal

Union of Journalists (PFUJ), Muneer Shakir was attacked by unknown persons who opened

fire on him at 12.20pm as he headed home from the press club in Khuzdar, in

central Balochistan. Shakir died at District Headquarters Hospital

in Khuzdar.

Shakir, who was aged in his early

30s, worked for Online News Network and was a correspondent with Balochi television

station Sabzbaat.

 

Members of the Balochistan Union of

Journalists (BUJ) reported that Shakir was not known to have received any

threats.

 

The PFUJ, an affiliate of the IFJ,

said in a statement that the murder of Shakir – the sixth journalist killed in Pakistan

in 2011 and the seventh media worker killed in Balochistan since early 2010 – exposed

the failure of the Government to protect media personnel.


The BUJ said the provincial government had been informed repeatedly about

threats against journalists, many of whom were reporting without assurance of

salaries, but had taken no preventive action. The insecure situation in

Balochistan was compelling many journalists to leave the profession, the BUJ

said.

 

Elsewhere in Pakistan, grave concerns are held for the

welfare of tribal journalist Rehmatullah Dawar, who was abducted in North Waziristan, in the Federally Administered Tribal

Areas (FATA), on August 11.

 

Dawar, of AAJ TV and the Urdu daily Ausaf, was snatched at a bazaar in

Miranshah by unidentified men. No one has claimed responsibility and the motive

remains unclear. However, the local Taliban has offered to assist to locate

Dawar.

 

“It is well beyond time for media

houses in Pakistan

to take responsibility to protect their workers amid increasing risks,” IFJ Asia-Pacific said.

 

“And power-holders and government

authorities at all levels must take concerted action to end impunity by

bringing perpetrators to justice.”

 

In just one example, Awaz TV

cameraman Abdul Salam Soomro has received serious threats after he filmed a

paramilitary ranger killing unarmed teenager Sarfraz Shah in Karachi in June.

 

On August 12, after the Ranger accused

of the killing was sentenced to death, PFUJ Secretary General Amin Yousuf demanded

media organisations implement measures, including through the provision of insurance,

to protect media workers who serve the public interest.

 

For further

information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific

on +612 9333 0919

 

The IFJ

represents more than 600,000 journalists in 131 countries

 

Find the

IFJ on Twitter: @ifjasiapacific

 

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IFJ on Facebook: www.facebook.com/IFJAsiaPacific