The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and its affiliate the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) strongly condemn the killing of a journalist in Mianwali of Punjab Province on Tuesday, April 23.
According to reports, Shahzad Iqbal, 28, a correspondent for SAMAA TV and editor of a local newspaper, was travelling to his office with his brother on a motorcycle when unidentified armed men intercepted them and opened fire. Iqbal was shot multiple times and died on the way to hospital. His brother is recovering in hospital. Another brother of Shahzad Iqbal was also believed to be at the scene.
Iqbal had been working in journalism for over seven years for various media outlets and was understood to have had some personal rivalries in recent times. Police have registered the case filed by Iqbal’s family and an initial investigation has indicated that the motive for the attack may stem from a personal enemy.
The IFJ joins the PFUJ in expressing deepest condolences to Iqbal’s family and in wishing Iqbal’s injured brother a speedy recovery.
The PFUJ said in a statement: “We condemn the killing of yet another journalist and demand that the culprits are arrested and put behind bars.”
Iqbal’s killing occurred barely four days after the murder attempt of highly respected journalist and anchor of Geo TV Hamid Mir in Karachi.
On March 21, Lahore-based PFUJ leader Rana Azeem received death threats in reaction to the chain of protests organised by the PFUJ to demand justice for the attack on Hamid Mir. These are not the first death threats received by Mr Azeem in 2014.
The IFJ said: “The deteriorating security situation for journalists in Pakistan is deeply concerning. We call for an immediate investigation into these brutal attacks.
Pakistan’s journalists are in an horrific situation with a deeply disturbing spike in attacks on individual journalists as well as the targeting of specific news outlets in 2014.
As the government ponders its next move to tackle impunity, more journalists will continue to die. It is time for the government to heed the calls of the journalist community in Pakistan and make meaningful changes to make journalists safer and to ensure death threats and attacks are thoroughly investigated and their perpetrators brought to justice. It is desperately sad that despite ongoing pressure from the global community, the Pakistan government is failing in its duty to protect media workers.”
“Last year Pakistan was Asia’s deadliest country for journalists, with a total of ten killings. Iqbal is the seventh journalists to be murdered in only the first four months of 2014. This dire situation in Pakistan must be addressed.”
For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +61 2 9333 0950
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