Press Release- 5 Pakistani journalists killed in first 2 months of this year #FOE

PAKISTAN: The killings of journalists continue unabated

A Statement from the Asian Human Rights Commission
February 28, 2013

Two senior journalists were killed during the short span of 48 hours. As is usual, enquiry committees have been formed by the authorities to investigate the killings and the motives behind the incidents. However, as committees have been formed in the past for the same reason which have not shown any results there is not much hope that the latest committees will show any progress.


On February 27, Mr. Malak Mumtaz Khan, a renowned journalist of the tribal areas and president of the Miranshah Press Club, was shot dead in North Waziristan. The area of Miranshah is known as a war zone which is under the control of the Taliban and from time to time the military conduct operations against the terrorists. Malak was going home from Miranshah bazaar in his car when men in another vehicle opened fire at him near his Miranshah Kalley village at about 4pm. He suffered bullet wounds to his head and chest and died on the spot. Malak was associated with several print and electronic media organisations, including The News, Jang, Geo TV and AVT Khyber.


The senior journalist, Mr. Khushnood Ali Shaikh, the chief reporter of the state-controlled Associated Press of Pakistan (APP) wire agency was killed in Karachi, the capital of Sindh province. He was killed in a hit-and-run accident by a car near his house on February 25. It is said that he was asked to pay an amount of Rs. 50,000 in extortion, ostensibly from a political group, for purchasing a new house. He was receiving threatening calls of the abduction and killing of his child if he did not pay the money demanded. He informed his journalist organization, his news agency, the APP, and the police of the threats. But after not getting any relief he shifted to Islamabad, the capital. When he thought the situation had been settled he returned to Karachi but again received threatening calls and it is believed that this resulted in his killing. The Police has appointed a highly designated officer to conduct the enquiry.


During the first two months of this year five journalists have been killed including three journalists in two bomb blasts in Quetta city, the capital of Balochistan province, when the Hazara Shia community was targeted by a sectarian organization.

Pakistan is among the most dangerous countries in the world for journalists with a total of 87 deaths since the year 2000.  During the year 2011 16 journalists were killed and in 2012 nine journalists died while performing their official duty which ranked Pakistan as the third most dangerous country in the world for journalists. The tribal areas, Khaber Pakhton and Baluchistan provinces are the most dangerous areas for journalists.

Besides the number of journalists killed more than 100 journalists were injured while performing their duties. The government at all tiers claim that they are providing treatment to the injured journalists and taking care of the welfare of their family members. However the government and the media houses have failed to provide protection to the working journalists, particularly in the war zone areas.  The media houses are equally responsible for not taking steps to provide protection to the journalists rather than taking them for granted. At times it looks as if media houses are happy when a journalist is killed as the names of the media houses are quoted at every level.

No one has ever been arrested or even named in these killings with the exception of the case of one US based journalist, Daniel Pearl whose murder was investigated with the assistance of the American authorities. As already stated there have been many judicial commissions on the subject of the killings but they have all failed to identify the killers. In the very famous inquiry by a judge from the Supreme Court into the mysterious killing of Saleem Shahzad of Asia News after one year of deliberations could not identify the killers. This is despite the fact that Saleem himself had complained that he was facing death threats from the intelligence agencies of armed forces.

The reason for the failure of the judiciary must be the insecurity of the judges which do not wish to associate themselves with any investigation into matters involving the military authorities or the terrorists. As a result they have failed to develop a system of protection under the law. The judiciary is well aware that there is no proper witness protection and terrorists enjoy this lacuna and the incapacity of the judiciary which gives them a good opportunity to pressure the legal proceedings. The case of murder of a journalist, Wali Khan Baber of Geo TV channel, is the best example to be quoted here as all the witnesses were killed. Despite this the judiciary remained silent on the matter.

Many journalists leave the country when they find no protection from their own organizations and the government. In 2011 four journalists left the country and in 2012 a further eight journalists left. These journalists, when they received shelter abroad have been hired by international media houses because of their investigative journalism.

The absence of any government policy to protect media workers continues to hamper the ability of journalists to work freely in Pakistan. After every incident of killing the government comes out with tall assurances to the journalist community. The same may be said about the media houses who always try to shift the responsibility onto the authorities but have never made any effort to develop a mechanism through their powerful organizations which always works for their benefit but not of the welfare or protection of journalists supposedly under their care.

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) urges the government of Pakistan to ensure protection for the journalist’s community. This must necessarily include their families and loved ones. It is the responsibility of the government to rein in the military and the intelligence agencies to ensure that they do not carry out extrajudicial killings of journalists who expose their failings. Their time would be better spent controlling the terrorists that are a threat to the entire country.

Freedom of expression is now so limited in Pakistan due to the various laws, including the blasphemy laws and the Official Secret Act of 1923 which generated intolerance in the society at every level. The only group that benefits from this Act is the terrorists and the state intelligence agencies. Therefore the government must follow Article 19 of the United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which has already been ratified by Pakistan. This Article provides space for the freedom of expression and a society based on tolerance.


10th day of Jal Satyagraha – Video Appeal #OmkareshwarDam

This video depicts the plight of the ordinary Indian, when their government and courts abandon them. The video is made on the tenth day where the evictees of the Omkareshwar Dam, one of the 30 large dams constructed in the controversial Narmada Valley Project, have decided to protest by staying in neck-deep water, after the Madhya Pradesh state government in India decided to increase the water level to 196.60 meters, though many villagers who lost their land and livelihood are yet to be identified and adequately compensated by the government. This is from the 10th day of the protest in water.

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received a report from the Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) that a large group of villagers who have been evicted from their land without compensation for the construction of the Omkareshwar Dam are protesting against the illegal increase in the water level, beyond that is allowed by the Supreme Court of India. It is reported that in a unique form of protest held in East Nimaar region in Khandwa district of Madhya Pradesh state, the villagers have been sitting within the dam’s catchment area claiming that they are willing to drown to death than been denied their rightful claim for adequate rehabilitation for the lands they have lost.

In the meanwhile, water level is increased gradually in the dam, that soon the water would submerge the protesters. The protest has entered the 10th day today. In a litigation decided by the Supreme Court of India and earlier by the Madhya Pradesh High Court, the courts have categorically instructed the government as well as the consortium managing the dam, that the water level should not be increased beyond 196.60 meters and that all steps are to be taken, so that those who are adversely affected by the dam, particularly those who have lost land by submergence, are properly identified and compensated before the reservoir is filled to its maximum capacity. NBA reports that so far the height of water was 189 meters and now the state government has declared that it would increase the water level to 193 meters. This however is done without rehabilitating those who have lost their land to submergence, which is a violation of the commitment made by the government in court and is against the court’s directives hence the protest. Civil society groups have condemned the total disregard of the government to the plight of the poor villagers.


Bangladesh Blocks Website Of Christian Dissident #Censorship

(BosNewsLife Exclusive)
Sunday, May 27, 2012 (12:34 pm)

William Nicholas Gomes has been hiding in Hong Kong.

By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent BosNewsLife

DHAKA/HONG KONG (BosNewsLife)– Bangladesh has reportedly blocked the website of leading Christian rights activist, author and journalist William Nicholas Gomes, who now lives in exile amid fears of repercussions.

Speaking from his hiding place in Hong Kong, he told BosNewsLife Sunday, May 27, that the government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina became upset about his writings, including a critical poem on injustices in the impoverished Asian nation.

In his poem ‘Anti state’ he wrote among other words “I am against the state, which runs on the bases of injustices, I am against the state which comes out of killings.”

Soon after, authorities allegedly shut down the influential site. “My website has been blocked in Bangladesh – people can not see my site,” he explained.

The activist said he is moving his website to another “save location” within the next few weeks to reach Bangladesh again and that it therefore can’t currently be seen elsewhere in the world.


Gomes, 28, stressed that authorities also plan to file “sedition” charges against him. There was no immediate response from officials.

“I believe that censorship is a possible way for the powerful to terminate individualism and promotes governmental coercion and totalitarianism,” Gomes complained.

He acknowledged that “some people urge that restrictions are valid only if they are for the sake of a greater good, a greater liberty.” However, “I believe that Censorship is a restriction that is not for greater liberty, but for the deprivation of liberty.”

The activist asked the prime minister “to remove the block and publicly apologize for this heinous act.”

Gomes lives in Hong Kong since last year when he reportedly fled his native Bangladesh after being detained and tortured by members of Bangladesh’s government-backed Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), a police elite force.


He was eventually freed, but rights group Amnesty International said at least 200 others were killed by the RAB since 2009, when Prime Minister Hasina took office.

Gomes believes he was targeted by officials in Bangladesh because he traveled throughout the country to investigate racial discrimination and other human rights violations in villages on behalf of the independent Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC), a group of jurists and activists.

He also covered religious rights issues as a reporter for Catholic news agency AsiaNews.

While traveling, the former Muslim, made it a point to pray and speak with people about his new-found faith in Christ. “While walking over often muddy roads, I prayed that each home would become part of the Body of Christ, His Church,” he told BosNewsLife in an earlier interview.

But as 90 percent of Bangladesh’s 142 million people are Muslims, preaching or tackling religious rights issues can lead to difficulties for minority Christians because of strict Islamic authorities, he and other activists suggested.


Though the website remains closed, Gomes said he was thankful to other Asian Christians for helping him, including “the Pakistan Christian community”, who have also complained about persecution under blasphemy laws.

“I condemn persecution of religious communities in Bangladesh,” Nazir Bhatti, who heads Christian party Pakistan Christian Congress, a major political force in Pakistan.

“[I] urge Prime Minister Hassina…to make Bangladesh a truly Peoples Republic that equality may be observed among Muslims and Christians and other minorities” he added in a statement seen by BosNewsLife.

Gomes is staying in Hong Kong without his young wife Annie Jhumur Halder and two small sons, Felix Eugene and Lalon Mark, who he said have been prevented from joining him.

Read more here


Kractivism-Gonaimate Videos

Protest to Arrest

Faking Democracy- Free Irom Sharmila Now

Faking Democracy- Repression Anti- Nuke activists


Kamayaninumerouno – Youtube Channel


Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 6,225 other followers

Top Rated

Blog Stats

  • 1,860,520 hits


September 2022
%d bloggers like this: