IFJ Mourns Journalist Shot Dead in Pakistan

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) condemns the murder of journalist Aamir Wakil in Pakistan at the weekend.


Aamir Wakil, 41, who worked for a private regional television channel and contributed to a local newspaper, was shot dead by unidentified gunmen near his house in Dhoke Khabba, Rawalpindi, on January 24.


The Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ), an IFJ affiliate, reports that the Federal Secretary of the Interior, Syed Kamal Shah, has assured the PFUJ that police will conduct a prompt investigation and bring the perpetrators to justice.


The IFJ joins the PFUJ in calling on the police to act quickly on the Interior Secretary’s directive to conduct a full and thorough investigation.


The motive for the murder is unclear, but the PFUJ urges authorities to investigate links to Wakil’s work as a journalist.


Wakil’s brother, Kamal Azfar, who is also a journalist and a member of the PFUJ’s Federal Executive Council, said the police had been informed about possible suspects.


“The murder of Aamir Wakil is yet another tragic reminder of the dangerous environment for journalists working Pakistan,” IFJ Asia-Pacific Director Jacqueline Park said. “The IFJ calls on Pakistan’s Government to follow through on its promise to ensure that those responsible for Wakil’s murder – and all other murders of media personnel in Pakistan - are brought to justice.”


Pakistan is among the most dangerous countries in the world in which to work as a journalist. In 2008, seven journalists were killed in the country, according to the IFJ.

Meanwhile, the IFJ joined the PFUJ in expressing further concerns about the safety of media personnel in Pakistan, after members of the public attacked a private TV channel in Quetta, Baluchistan, on Monday.


The SAMAA office was attacked by members of a crowd protesting the murder of a local leader. The PFUJ said it received reports that stones were thrown and some bullets were fired at the office. No one was hurt, although an office vehicle and some equipment were damaged.


The PFUJ called on the government of Baluchistan to enhance security near the office, and urged SAMAA’s management to provide insurance cover for staff.


"Journalists often come under such attacks, particularly in conflict areas like Baluchistan, and it is very important that journalists working in these areas get proper insurance cover and training," the PFUJ said.


For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +612 9333 0919


The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 120 countries worldwide