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IFJ demands justice for slain Pakistani journalists

 JournalismPakistan.com |  Published May 27, 2024

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IFJ demands justice for slain Pakistani journalists

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has condemned the recent murders in Pakistan of two journalists and called for a thorough and transparent investigation.

General Secretary Anthony Bellanger said: "The IFJ condemns in the strongest terms the killing of journalists Kamran Dawar and Nasrullah Gadani. Journalists and media workers in Pakistan have a constitutional right to freedom of expression, however, this is undermined by targeted attacks, assaults, and killings. Authorities must ensure that the media is free to work without fear of retribution and ensure that these killings are subject to an immediate, thorough, and transparent investigation."

The PFUJ said: "Authorities should carry out a thorough investigation into the killing of two journalists within three days. The culprits should be arrested immediately."

On May 21, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa digital journalist Kamran Dawar was fatally shot in North Waziristan, while Sindh journalist Nasrullah Gadani was killed on May 24, after sustaining multiple bullet wounds during an attack on May 21. The IFJ and its affiliate, the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ), have strongly condemned the killing of the journalists and urged authorities to conduct immediate, transparent, and comprehensive investigations into their killings. 

Nasrullah Gadani, associated with the daily Awami Awaz newspaper, was shot three times by three unknown assailants while traveling from his home to the Mirpur Mathelo Press Club at around 11:00 am near Kori Goth, approximately 12 kilometers from the Mirpur Mathelo town center in Ghotki district, Sindh. Gadani suffered at least three shots to his chest and abdomen, suffering severe injuries to his lungs.  

After receiving initial medical treatment in Ghotki, he was transferred to the Sheikh Zayed Medical College Hospital in Rahim Yar Khan for surgery before being airlifted to the Agha Khan Hospital in Karachi via the Edhi air ambulance. The journalist died as a result of his injuries on May 24. No First Information Report has been launched by authorities, with the Commission for the Protection of Journalists and other media practitioners rejecting an earlier investigative commission on May 25, directing the Inspector General of Police to form a new committee.

According to Gadani's editor Dr Jabbar Khattak, Nasrullah's dedication to truth-telling had made him a target. The journalist was known for his bold reporting, with local journalists reporting to Dawn that the journalist had previously covered stories on local politicians, land owners, feudal lords, and government officials through his traditional and social media reporting. In 2023, Gadani was placed under house arrest for allegedly coordinating protests, with Gadani's colleagues claiming the arrest was due to his coverage of public safety issues.

On May 21, digital journalist Kamran Dawar was also killed by unidentified assailants in the Tappi village in Miranshah in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa's north-western North Waziristan district. First transferred to a local hospital, Dawar died as a result of his injuries. In a discussion with Pakistani advocacy and media development organization Freedom Network, a representative from local police reportedly claimed the killing was targeted, with a First Information Report registered and investigations ongoing. He had reportedly received threatening phone calls before his death. 

Six journalists have been killed in Pakistan in 2024, with Khuzdar journalist Muhammad Siddique Mengal killed on May 3 in Balochistan, journalist Meher Ashfaq Sial killed on May 15, and Khanpur journalist Sagheer Ahmed Laar fatally shot on March 14. The body of Tahira Nosheen Rana was discovered in Punjab's north on March 11.   

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