Three journalists slain in one week

Media release: Pakistan                              

March 4, 2013

The International Federation

of Journalists is appalled at the death of three Pakistani journalists in the

space of a week and has called on authorities to thoroughly investigate the cases

to ensure the perpetrators are brought to justice.

On March 1, Mehmood Ahmed

Afridi, a correspondent for the newspaper Intikhab, was killed by gunmen

travelling by motorcycle in Kalat, in the southwestern province of Balochistan.

Afridi, 56, had worked as a journalist since 1995 and was president of the

Kalat press club. Colleagues said Afridi had been waiting outside a public

telephone booth when two men on a motorcycle stopped and opened fire - he was

shot four times.

On 27 February in

Miranshah, North Waziristan, in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA),

journalist Malik Mumtaz Khan, was on his way to his home when he was gunned

down by armed men waiting in a vehicle with tinted windows of the kind widely

used by militants. Khan had been a journalist for 15 years and had worked for

TV news channel GEO and the Jang newspaper group. He had also recently been

elected president of the Miranshah press club.

On February 25 Khushnood

Ali Shaikh, the chief reporter of the state-controlled Associated Press of

Pakistan (APP) wire agency was killed in Karachi, the capital of Sindh province

when he was struck in a hit-and-run incident with a car. Shaikh had been

receiving threatening calls for some time that warned his child would be abducted

and murdered if he did not pay Rs. 50,000 in extortion. Shaikh had informed his

union, his employer and the police of the threats. He relocated to Islamabad

and thought that the threats had gone away. Returning to Karachi, the threats

resumed. It’s believed his death was no accident and that he was deliberately

targeted.

“Increasingly, governments

around the world are allowing killers to get away with murder because the

targeted killing of journalists are not properly investigated,” the IFJ said.

“Authorities cannot allow

a culture of impunity to flourish.  Journalists must be allowed to do

their job of scrutinising the powerful and holding them to account. Pakistan

must demonstrate that it will investigate these crimes with vigour.”

This week, The International

Federation of Journalists has sent an international delegation to Pakistan. The

5-member delegation are meeting with union leaders, media persons, civil

society representatives from four provinces to assess the situation for

journalists, in particular with regards to their safety and job security.

The delegation will be

meeting media owners and government officials to impress upon them the

importance of a safe and independent media and discuss ways in which the policy

and legal environment can support press freedom and allow the media to fulfill

their democratic function.  

A National Meeting will be

held on the 5th March attended by government, civil society and media representatives

from around the country to discuss the delegations’ findings and ways in which

various groups can jointly support a safe and independent media.

For

further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +61 2 9333 0950

The IFJ

represents more than 600,000 journalists in 131 countries

Find

the IFJ on Twitter: @ifjasiapacific

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