March 29, 2018
Journalist Zeeshan Ashraf Butt became the second journalist killed in Pakistan this year, when he was shot dead on March 27.
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has deplored the killing and called for an immediate investigation.
Zeeshan, a 29-year-old journalist with Urdu daily Nawa-i-Waqt and former chairperson of the Sambrial Press Club, was in Begowala on a personal visit. During his visit, he met with Imran Cheema, Chairperson of the Begowala Union Council. An argument broke out over a monetary dispute, and Cheema reportedly opened fire on Butt. He died at the scene, and Cheema fled.
The family of the slain journalist claimed that he had gone to the Union Council office upon some complaints from the local shopkeepers about a new tax imposed by the UC chairman. His brother alleged that the UC chairman was angered by his questions and opened fire on him. The police have registered a First Information Report (FIR) and are investigating the incident.
Butt is the second journalist killed in Pakistan in 2018 after Anjum Muneer Raja, who was shot dead on March 1. According to the IFJ Killed List, four journalists were killed in Pakistan in 2017.
The IFJ General-Secretary Anthony Bellanger said: “The IFJ condemns the killing of journalist Zeeshan Ashraf Butt in Sialkot, Pakistan and demands immediate arrest and prosecution of those involved to ensure justice to the slain journalist. Pakistan is one of the most dangerous countries for journalists, and the government should take urgent measures to ensure justice to end the reigning impunity. Sadly, Pakistan continues to be fatal for journalists with the government’s failure to ensure safety. The IFJ also urges the government to create a safe working environment for journalists.” – IFJ media release
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A study conducted by JournalismPakistan.com and Communications Research Strategies on the economic situation of slain journalists' families and journalists displaced due to security threats.