News OutletPakistani officials pledge review of journalist killingsDateNameNews outlet

CPJ Pakistan Cases: 2002-2006


News outlet

February 21, 2002Daniel Pearl The Wall Street Journal

October 20, 2002Shahid SoomroKawishJanuary 21, 2003 Fazal WahabfreelanceJanuary 29, 2004Sajid TanoliShumal February 7, 2005Allah NoorKhyber TV February 7, 2005 Amir Nowab
(also known as Mir Nawab)Associated Press TV News,
Frontier Post

May 29, 2006Munir Ahmed Sangi

Kawish Television Network

June 16, 2006Hayatullah Khanfreelance

1) February 21, 2002: Daniel Pearl, The Wall Street Journal
U.S. government officials confirmed on February 21 that Pearl, kidnapped South Asia correspondent for The Wall Street Journal, had been killed by his captors. According to The Journal, Pearl had been reporting on would-be shoe bomber Richard Reid, who sought to blow up an airplane during a transatlantic flight.

2) October 20, 2002: Shahid Soomro, Kawish
Soomro, a correspondent for the Sindhi-language newspaper Kawish, was assassinated in the town of Kandhkot, Sindh province, apparently in reprisal for his reporting on abuses committed during general elections held on October 10. His brother filed a case with police identifying three assailants, all members of a powerful local family.

3) January 21, 2003: Fazal Wahab, freelance
Wahab, a freelance writer, was shot and killed by unidentified gunmen while he was sitting in a roadside shop in Manglawar Bazaar, near the resort town of Mingora in northwestern Pakistan. His colleagues believe that he was targeted for his work. Local journalists and human rights activists told CPJ that Wahab had been receiving threats for years in response to his writings. Wahab had published several books in Urdu and in Pashto—the language spoken in the border region of Pakistan and parts of neighboring Afghanistan—that criticized local religious leaders and Islamic militant organizations.

4) January 29, 2004: Sajid Tanoli, Shumal
Tanoli, 35, a reporter with the regional Urdu-language daily Shumal, was killed in the town of Mansehra in Pakistan’s North West Frontier Province. Tanoli was stopped on a highway, dragged from his car and shot several times, the Associated Press of Pakistan reported. Tanoli had written critically about the head of the local government, including a story three days before the slaying that described an allegedly illegal liquor business run by a politician.

5, 6) February 7, 2005:
Amir Nowab (Mir Nawab), Associated Press Television News and Frontier Post
Allah Noor, Khyber TV
Gunmen in the capital of the remote South Waziristan tribal area fatally shot Nowab, also known as Nawab, a freelance cameraman for Associated Press Television News and a reporter for the Frontier Post newspaper, and Noor, who was working for Peshawar–based Khyber TV. The journalists were on their way back from the town of Sararogha, where they were covering the surrender of suspected tribal militant Baitullah Mehsud. An unknown group calling itself “Sipah-e-Islam” (Soldiers of Islam) took responsibility for the killings in a letter faxed to newspapers. It accused some journalists of “working for Christians” and of “being used as tools in negative propaganda … against the Muslim mujahedeen.”

7) May 29, 2006: Munir Ahmed Sangi, Kawish Television Network
Sangi, a cameraman for the Sindhi-language KTN, was shot while covering a gunfight between members of the Unar and Abro tribes in the town of Larkana, in southeast Pakistan’s Sindh district, according to local media reports. Police said Sangi was killed in crossfire, although some colleagues believe he may have been deliberately targeted for the station’s reporting on a jirga, or tribal council, held by leaders of the Unar tribe, according to the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists.

8) June 16, 2006: Hayatullah Khan, freelance
Khan’s body was found by villagers in the North Waziristan town of Mir Ali, from which he was abducted on December 5, 2005. Khan disappeared after reporting that an al-Qaeda commander had been killed by a U.S. missile, contradicting official Pakistani accounts of the death. Local government officials and family members told journalists that Khan had been shot in the back of the head, probably on June 15, and was in handcuffs.


News outlet

May 10, 2002Amardeep BasseyThe Sunday MercuryJuly 8, 2003 Munawar MohsinFrontier PostNovember 11, 2003Raza Hussain JafferyQalam KamanDecember 16, 2003Khawar Mehdi RizviFreelance

June 22, 2006 Mukesh RupetaGeo TV

June 22, 2006Sanjay Kumar


1) May 10, 2002: Amardeep Bassey, The Sunday Mercury
Bassey, investigations editor for the British newspaper The Sunday Mercury, was arrested at the Torkham border crossing, near Peshawar, on his way back into Pakistan from Afghanistan. Pakistani officials told journalists that Bassey, a British citizen, was being held on suspicion of espionage. Pakistani officials told local journalists that they were suspicious of Bassey because of his Indian descent. Authorities did not release Bassey until June 6 and offered no explanation for the delay.

2) July 8, 2003: Munawar Mohsin, Frontier Post
Mohsin, a former editor for the national daily Frontier Post, was sentenced to life in prison by a court in North West Frontier Province on charges of blasphemy. The charges stemmed from a letter to the editor published in the Frontier Post on January 29, 2001, which included references to the Prophet Muhammad that were said to be derogatory. He was freed after serving four years in prison.

3) November 11, 2003: Raza Hussain Jaffery, Qalam Kaman
Jaffery, editor of the monthly newspaper Qalam Kaman in the city of Mian Channu in Pakistan’s Punjab province, was arrested and held in jail for two weeks in retaliation for an article he published about Sheikh Jamil, an influential former politician, according to local journalists.

4) December 16, 2003: Khawar Mehdi Rizvi, freelance
Rizvi, a well-known journalist and fixer for international news outlets, was detained and secretly held for five weeks before authorities in the southwestern city of Quetta charged him with sedition, conspiracy, and impersonation. The charges against Rizvi stem from his work as a fixer for two French journalists, Marc Epstein and Jean-Paul Guilloteau from the newsweekly L’Express, who were doing research about Taliban activity along the Pakistan-Afghanistani border.

5, 6) June 22, 2006: Mukesh Rupeta, Geo TV, and Sanjay Kumar, freelance
Authorities filed criminal cases against Geo TV correspondent Mukesh Rupeta and freelance cameraman Sanjay Kumar, more than three months after the two disappeared in Jacobabad in south Pakistan’s Sindh province. The two journalists were accused of filming a Pakistani air force base in violation of the Official Secrets Act, and they could be sentenced to a prison term of several years if convicted.


1) April 14, 2002: 23 journalists
Police in Faisalabad, Punjab Province, assaulted a group of journalists during a rally staged to promote an upcoming referendum to prolong the presidency of General Pervez Musharraf for five years. Dozens of journalists had walked out of the rally to protest remarks by Punjab governor Khalid Maqbool, who accused the Pakistani media of undermining Musharraf’s referendum campaign “by publishing fake reports.” As the journalists left the rally, which was held at the Iqbal Stadium in Faisalabad, baton-wielding police officers assaulted them. According to a report in the newspaper Dawn, at least 23 journalists were injured.

2) October 17, 2003: Six photojournalists
Six photojournalists were assaulted by Lahore High Court Bar Association Vice President Tariq Pervez Janjua in the northeastern city of Rawalpindi. Police had registered a forgery allegation against Janjua. The skirmish occurred as photojournalists took pictures of Janjua as he was leaving court.

3) November 10, 2003: Muhammad Ijaz, Geo TV and Haji Muhammad Ajmal, Jang
Ijaz, a journalist with Geo TV, and Ajmal, a correspondent with the national daily Jang, were injured after two consecutive bomb explosions struck a residential area of Quetta in southwestern Pakistan on November 10. According to a Jang reporter, Ajmal suffered minor injuries, but Ijaz’s right eye was severely injured.

4) November 22, 2003: Amir Min, Herald
Three unidentified assailants set fire to the car of Mir, senior assistant editor of the English-language monthly the Herald. The attack came after a months-long series of threats and pressure. In June, Mir was forced to resign as editor of the Weekly Independent, a Lahore-based, English-language newspaper, under pressure from local government officials who accused the paper of running articles that were “against the national interest” and of having an “anti-army policy.” Mir then went to work for the Herald, a magazine known for its critical articles.

5) March 2, 2004: Geo
About 20 rioters broke into the offices of the private Geo television station in Quetta, the capital of southwestern Pakistan’s Balochistan Province. They set fire to administrative records, newspapers, and other materials, according to the Karachi-based Pakistan Press Foundation. The office was closed, and no one was injured.

6) May 26, 2004: Naziruddin Ahmed (The Nation), Zia Mazhar (Umaat), Aamir Qureshi (AFP)
More than a dozen photographers, including Ahmed, Mazhar, and Qureshi, were injured during a twin car bomb attack in Karachi, outside the Pakistan-American Cultural Center (PACC), 330 feet (100 meters) from the U.S. consul general’s home, according to international news reports and local journalists.

7) June 25, 2004: Numerous journalists
Journalists who attended a press conference held by the director-general of the Pakistan Postal Services in Lahore were harassed by postal service employees and an army officer, according to local news reports and sources. Sources told CPJ that several journalists covering the press conference tried to leave early but were stopped by army Maj. Mansoor Noor. Noor told the journalists they couldn’t leave because the director-general had not finished, the English-language daily Dawn reported.

8) July 10, 2004: Saima Zahoor, Express
Zahoor, a reporter for the Urdu-language daily Express, was attacked by Asif Rahim, a deputy secretary in the Environment Ministry, in the capital, Islamabad, and locked in a room for one hour. Upset about her questioning about pollution in a local lake, Rahim called in a security guard to escort the reporter out of the office. When Zahoor did not cooperate, news reports said, Rahim forcibly placed her in a locked room.

9) February 7, 2005:
Anwar Shakir, Agence France-Presse
Zardad Khan, Al-Jazeera

Shakir and Khan were injured when gunmen in Pakistan’s tribal area of South Waziristan opened fire on a bus carrying 10 journalists. The journalists were on their way back from the town of Sararogha, where they were covering the surrender of suspected tribal militant Baitullah Mehsud. Journalists Amir Nowab and Allah Noor were killed in the ambush.

10) April 14, 2005: Kamran Mumtaz, Daily Mashriq
A group of five armed men stormed the office of the Daily Mashriq in the southwestern city of Quetta and assaulted Mumtaz, the editor, because of the newspaper’s allegedly biased reporting about a local political party.

11) April 15 and 16, 2005:

Mazhar Tufail, Geo TV
Malik Munawar, Asas Karachi
Tasadduk Ghouri, Janbaz Karachi
Yaseen Jabalpuri, APNA TV
Police harassed and attacked journalists covering activities of the opposition Pakistan People’s Party’s (PPP). About 50 journalists traveling with Asif Ali Zardari—opposition leader and husband of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto—on his flight from Dubai to Lahore on April 16 were surrounded by police as they exited the plane and forced to surrender their camera equipment, audio recorders, and mobile phones, according to local journalists.

12) May 3, 2005: Numerous journalists
During peaceful demonstrations in honor of World Press Freedom Day, approximately 50 journalists were injured when police baton-charged demonstrators marching in the center of Lahore. As many as 60 journalists were forcibly detained for two hours at a police station in Islamabad, local journalists told CPJ.

13) December 23, 2005: Khabroon
Armed men threw a bomb into the offices of the Sindhi-language daily Khabroon in the southern city of Sukkur, setting the reception area on fire, according to local news reports. Imtnan Shahid, an editor of the parent group Khabrain, accused Sindhi nationalist activists of perpetrating the attack in opposition to state-sponsored advertisements in Khabroon promoting the building of a controversial dam, according to the Karachi-based Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF). The newspaper was one of a handful of Sindhi-language publications carrying the ads, which were part of a broad government campaign to rally public support for the Kalabagh Dam project.

14) April 11, 2006:
Aziz Ahmed, Mazhar Hussain, GEO TV
Imran Ali, Ryassat Karachi
Shoab Hussan, Kainat newspaper
Javed Jaija, Kawish Daily
Danish Khan, ARY One TV
Usman Shareef, APNA TV
Qayyum Sheikh, Qaumi Akhbar
Shakir Suleman, Jura’at Karachi

Five photographers and three cameramen were injured in a bomb blast at Karachi’s Nashter Park. News reports said more than 45 people died in the explosion and more than 100 were injured.

1) July 2, 2006: Mehruddin Mari, Daily Kawish
CPJ has confirmed that Mari, a correspondent for the Sindhi-language newspaper The Daily Kawish, was taken by police. Daily Kawish editor Ali Kazi and the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) say they believe Mari is in government custody. Police vans with more than 30 officers blocked the road between the town of Jati, southeast of Karachi, and the town of Golarchi, where Mari is the Daily Kawish correspondent. They stopped Mari, who was returning home with fellow members of the Golarchi Press Club after a meeting in Jati with Minister of State Muhammad Ali Malkani. Mari covered political and human rights issues in Golarchi, according to PFUJ.