Abbas, who worked for 7-News, was on his way home from work late at night when he was kidnapped. A report of the kidnapping was filed to the local police station, however the police did not investigate the matter. Five days later, Abbas was found dead in a dry well at Mauza Kali Shah in Punjab.
Following the protest from the PFUJ and its affiliate Vehari Union condemning authorities unwillingness to investigate, the Chief Minister of Punjab Province began an investigation. Seven suspectsare under investigation and an autopsy has been conducted according to news reports.
The PFUJ President GM Jamali and Secretary General Rana M. Azeem demand the Chief Minister of Punjab ensure the authorities investigate Abbas’ murder, prosecute the killers and provide financial compensation to Abbas’ family.
According to the IFJ, Abbas is the third journalist to be killed in Pakistan this year and the second journalist to be killed in the Punjab province. On the 30 August 2019, Mirza Waseem Baig was killed in the Punjab province and on the 30 Aril 2019, Aman Ullah Gharro was killed in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.
IFJ General Secretary Anthony Bellanger, said: “We condemn the murder of Zafar Abbas and the local police’s reluctance to act on Zafar Abbas’ kidnapping. After the failure of the Chief Minister of the Punjab Province to take action previously, we urge the Minister to personally oversee the investigation and ensure the murderers are held to account.
Crimes against journalists occur regularly in Pakistan and go unpunished. We demand Pakistan’s authorities take immediate action and secure the safety of journalists.”