PESHAWAR: Pakistan has long been among the most dangerous countries in the world for journalists, with 102 journalists and media workers having lost their lives since 2005, said a report of International Federation of Journalists (IFJ).
Since 2010, 73 journalists and media workers have been killed: almost one journalist killed every month. The armed insurgency and sectarian violence account for a number of these killings but many of them raise suspicions of the involvement of the state’s institutions, said a report.
The killers of journalists mostly walk free, as Pakistan has so far recorded only three convictions. March 16, 2016 marked a rare occasion for journalists in Pakistan to celebrate the third verdict convicting a murderer of journalist when District and Sessions Court in Karak district, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, sentenced Aminullah to life imprisonment for the killing of journalist Ayub Khattak. The journalist was shot dead on October 11, 2013 for his reporting about the drug business in which Aminullah was involved.”
The conviction was successful as his family vigorously pursued the murder charges against the accused. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) have seen 28 cases of journalist murders, and none, except in Khattak’s case, have been arrested so far.
Balochistan – termed ‘Cemetery for Journalists’ in the IFJ South Asia Press Freedom Report 2014 – remains the most dangerous province for journalists with 31 killings since 2007.
A judicial commission’s report submitted in August 2015 concluded that Balochistan remains the worst flashpoint for media practitioners in the country and that the climate of fear and threats of reprisals prevent witnesses to assist the authorities in combating impunity against the attacks and intimidation.
The Commission report says that in absence of evidences and witnesses, no banned militant organization or government agency such as police, local administration or any other group could be held responsible for any journalist’s killing.