Haider Ali, an eyewitness to the 2011 murder of Geo TV reporter Wali Khan Babar, was gunned down on Sunday, two days before he was set to testify in the trial of five suspects. The murder sent shockwaves across Pakistan--one of the deadliest countries in the world for journalists and one of the worst in bringing the killers to justice. According to the prosecutor in the case, Ali had identified several suspects as being involved in Babar's murder in a recent statement before a judicial magistrate. His killing was the latest in a series of murders that have targeted people linked to the Babar investigation. Five others--including eyewitnesses, police officers, an informant, and a family member of an investigator--have also been murdered.
In case there was any doubt about the stance of Pakistani authorities on the murder of journalists, UNESCO's 28th biennial session offered an instructive insight. In addition to discussing the U.N. Draft Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity during the meeting, held in Paris in March, member states were to report on judicial inquiries into the killings of journalists from 2006 to 2009. Pakistan was among 17 countries that did not respond to the request. It was also one of three countries that refused to discuss the UNESCO draft, intended to take legislative measures to combat attacks on the press. This was a reflection of our sad state of affairs.
As journalists continue to be targeted, the government of Asif Ali Zardari has shown itself unable and unwilling to stand up for a free press. Whatever solutions exist will have to be found by people in the profession. By Bob Dietz
Today is the first anniversary of the killing of Geo TV broadcast reporter Wali Khan Babar in Karachi, a case that has almost been forgotten, particularly in the shadow of the release of the judicial inquiry into the murder of journalist Saleem Shahzad. The report on Shahzad has been posted on the Ministry of Information's website.
Karachi, Pakistan's economic hub, is one of the country's main media centers, with more than 2,000 journalists and the head offices of leading media organizations. Journalists in the city have come under attack before, with seven journalists killed there since 1994. But the situation was never as dangerous as it has been this past year.
New York, April 21, 2011--An outburst of violence took the lives of at least 20 people in a bomb blast and targeted attacks in Karachi on Wednesday and Thursday. The huge port city of more than 13 million people is caught in a gangland-style turf war made worse by sectarian and political conflict, according to media reports.
New York, April 8, 2011--The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes movement in the case of the murder of Geo TV reporter Wali Khan Babar in Karachi, and calls for a full prosecution to break a longstanding pattern of impunity in journalist murders in Pakistan. Police arrested five men they say carried out the killing in January.
New York, April 4, 2011--Amid ongoing violence, police in Karachi should thoroughly investigate the motive behind the shooting death of crime reporter Zaman Ibrahim on Saturday night.