ISLAMABAD, December 31, 2013
A few months ago journalist Ali Chishti was kidnapped outside his office in Karachi and tortured for many hours. But he lived to tell the tale though he had to leave the city.
Abdul Razzaq, a Balochistan-based journalist was killed in the most brutal manner. Razzaq lived in Karachi’s Lyari area, and was missing since March. His body was found in August, and it was so badly mutilated that his family could not identify him when they first saw it. In the end, only his arms and legs were sufficiently intact to enable identification, according to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan.
While Syria remains the most dangerous place for journalists, according to a new report by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), there are continuing dangers to journalists in Pakistan. While CPJ says the number of deaths in 2013 is five in Pakistan, a report by the Media Monitoring Cell of the Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors (CPNE) puts the number at eleven.
The number includes five journalists killed while covering bomb blasts, while six were murdered. According to news reports, on January 11 a bomb blast claimed the lives of Samaa TV reporter Saifur Rehman and cameraman Imran Shaikh in Quetta. Two news agency photographers also lost their lives when a second bomb exploded while they were covering the earlier blast. Tariq Aslam, a sub-editor of Daily Pakistan was killed in a bomb blast during a political party meeting in Peshawar in April.
Karachi remains volatile for journalists with two brazen attacks on the office of Express News this year in which some people were injured. In February the report says that Shaikh Ali Mohsin, a journalist, was shot dead near his house in Karachi. The chief reporter of Associated Press of Pakistan Khushnood Ali Shaikh was fatally hit by a car while crossing the road outside his house.
The death was suspicious because he had received extortion demands after he bought a new house and he refused to pay up. The Karachi Union of Journalists had demanded an inquiry since it was no ordinary hit and run accident.
In February, Geo TV reporter Malik Muhammad Mumtaz was killed in North Waziristan and in May Ahmed Ali Joya of Express Tribune was fatally targeted by gunmen in Bahawalnagar district in the Punjab province.
In Karak in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Ayub Khattak who worked for a local channel was killed outside his house. The Media Cell also referred to various incidents of threats and other attacks on journalists. The report demanded that those responsible for the deaths of journalists be brought to book.