Global media watchdog asks Pakistan to conduct ‘credible’ probe into killing of journalist
The recent killing of a Hindu journalist in Pakistan has drawn heavy criticism from a global media watchdog, Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) demanding that authorities in Pakistan’s southern Sindh province urgently conduct a “credible” investigation and arrest those responsible for the crime.
“Police in Sindh province must waste no time investigating the killing of journalist Ajay Lalwani and apprehending those responsible,” said Steven Butler of CPJ in a statement.
Ajay Kumar Lalwani, a local correspondent for a privately owned Urdu language newspaper, suffered multiple gunshot wounds and died in a hospital on Thursday. Lalwani was sitting in a barbershop in Sindh province’s Sukkur city on Wednesday evening when unknown assailants riding a motorcycle and a car with four passengers opened fire on him.
“It’s critical that the investigation be led by officers who are able to maintain public confidence, given the long history of tensions between local journalists and the police in Sukkur,” said Butler, CPJ’s Asia program director.
The CPJ quoted Ashiq Jatoi, editor of the Daily Puchano, which the slain reporter worked for, as telling the watchdog he believed that Lalwani’s killing was related to his professional duties.
Jatoi also cast doubt on the impartiality of the investigative team, citing a history of tension between police and journalists in Sukkur.
The CPJ noted in its statement that journalists in Sukkur have repeatedly held demonstrations against the city police to protest the filing of anti-state charges against journalists who report on alleged corruption. “In some cases, police resorted to violence to suppress the protest campaign,” it said.
Pakistan has long been considered a dangerous place for journalists, according to CPJ, and those involved in attacks on journalists are rarely punished.