Federation of Journalists (IFJ) demands that Pakistan’s
Government launch a swift and full inquiry into the murder of a veteran Afghan
journalist in Pakistan
Peshawar-based journalist Janullah
Hashimzada was shot dead by four unidentified gunmen in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas
(FATA) as he travelled from Afghanistan’s
Province to Peshawar, in Pakistan’s
North-West Frontier Province (NWFP).
The minivan in which he was
travelling was ambushed near Jamrud in the Khyber tribal district. Two
gunmen entered the van and shot Hashimzada four times, according to the
Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ),
an IFJ affiliate.
Another passenger and Afghan national, Ali,
suffered injuries and is reported to be in a serious condition.
The IFJ urgently calls on Pakistan’s
federal and provincial governments to order local authorities to conduct an
immediate and full investigation,
and to ensure the killers are brought to justice.
Local authorities should be warned
not to make the same mistake as in February,
when police failed to conduct a prompt inquiry into the murder of journalist
Mussa Khankel in the Swat
An independent inquiry by the PFUJ
into Khankel’s murder concluded that his killers could have been caught and
brought to justice had security forces acted quickly,
rather than delaying their inquiries until the PFUJ launched its own
“Pakistan’s highest authorities must take quick
action to overcome the failings of local authorities to properly investigate
previous murders of journalists in Pakistan,”
IFJ General Secretary Aidan White said.
“Murders and attacks against
journalists are being conducted with impunity. Pakistan’s Government must act
on its obligations under United Nations Security Council Resolution 1738 (2006)
to actively protect journalists and media workers working in war zones, in accordance with their status as civilians under
While the motive for
killing Hashimzada remains unclear,
there are reports that the attack was intended to silence independent
journalists working in Pakistan’s
tribal and conflict zones.
As was the case with Khankel, Hashimzada’s reporting was said to have upset key
players in the region. Hashimzada was reported to have had good ties with
Pakistani officials and senior journalists in Peshawar,
and he was known to be critical of insurgents operating under the banner of the
one colleague said some of his reporting was not acceptable to the governments
of Afghanistan and Pakistan.
37, worked as a freelance journalist, mainly contributing to Pajhwok Afghan News and
Shamshad TV in Afghanistan, the Wahdat and Sahar Pashto language
newspapers published from the NWFP,
as well as Associated Press (AP) and Al-Arabia TV.
He also had been working with the
Afghan Independent Journalists’ Association (AIJA),
an IFJ affiliate, to set up an AIJA
regional office in Peshawar, in order to assist Afghan journalists and media
professionals working in Pakistan, as well as Pakistani journalists.
AIJA President Rahimullah Samander
said the death of Hashimzada was an enormous loss for the Afghan journalists’
community, and the association’s
offices in Afghanistan’s
eastern four provinces were investigating the murder.
The AIJA has called on Afghanistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs to
intervene with counterparts in Pakistan
and request assurance of a full and immediate investigation.
The PFUJ also strongly condemned the
murder. It questioned the Government’s indifference to attacks on media
personnel and urged it
to fulfil its constitutional obligation to provide safety and protection to
journalists and to bring their killers to justice.
In the case of Khankhel, a reporter for The News International and
GEO News, his bullet-riddled body
was found on February 18 after he went missing in the Swat Valley
The PFUJ conducted an investigation
into Khankhel’s murder after local authorities failed to initiate their own
inquiry. The PFUJ reported that a five-member police team headed by a
high-ranking official did not begin its investigation into the murder until
February 27, the day the PFUJ team
visited the valley. The area in which Khankhel’s body was recovered was not
cordoned off at the time and no search operation was conducted.
No one has been charged with
with a return to relative peace in Swat in the past month,
the administration of the local police force is being reorganised, and the PFUJ and local journalists are
anticipating a full inquiry into the killing.
For further information contact IFJ
Asia-Pacific on +612 9333 0919
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