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Journalist gunned down in Karachi; 14 journalists murdered in 13 months

Pakistani journalists protest to condemn the killing of a journalist on Friday, January 14, 2011 in Karachi, Pakistan. Placard in right reads " Truth cannot be snubbed by killing Wali Babar."

Zaman Ali, a reporter who covered organised crime for the Urdu-language newspaper Extra News, was brutally murdered on April 2 in the Karachi suburb of Lyari, one of the most dangerous areas of the city.

“The number of journalists killed in Pakistan in the past 13 months now totals 14,” Paris-based press freedom group Reporters sans Frontières (RSF) said. “We are appalled by this permanent state of violence, which is paralysing the media in Pakistan. Not one of these crimes has been solved. We call on the authorities to break this cycle of impunity and to conduct a thorough enquiry into Ali’s murder without delay, in order to establish the motives and arrest those responsible.”

A Karachi-based journalist specialising in crime reporting told RSF: “A gang must have been unhappy about what he was writing. We can see no other possible explanation for this killing.”

Witnesses said the victim, who was 42, was gunned down just after attending a meeting of supporters of the late Benhazir Bhutto in the Liaqatabad district. Afzal Nadeem Dogar, a journalist with Geo News TV who also specialises in covering serious crime, told Reporters Without Borders: “You take big risks if you work as a crime reporter in Karachi, as Ali’s murder proves.”

He had worked for several small local Urdu papers and was involved with a local group called the People's Aman Committee. The group is the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party's militant counterpoint to the armed militias of the opposition Muttahida Qaumi Movement and Awami National Party. The group is known for its violent tactics.

"The shooting of journalists in Karachi has become a reality that reporters on the street have had to live with," said Bob Dietz, CPJ's Asia program coordinator. "The city's police must investigate the motive behind the killing of Zaman Ibrahim to counter the continued threat under which the city's journalists must work."

Ali is the second journalist to be murdered in Karachi since the start of the 2011. Wali Khan Babar of Geo News TV was gunned down on January 13.

Date posted: April 5, 2011 Last modified: May 23, 2018 Total views: 269