Pakistani journalist gunned down in Baluchistan

New York, November 19, 2012–Pakistani authorities must immediately investigate the murder of a journalist who was shot to death in Baluchistan on Sunday, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Rehmatullah Abid was the second Dunya News TV journalist to be killed this year.

“We demand that the Pakistani government conduct a thorough investigation to determine a motive and bring the killers to justice,” said Bob Dietz, CPJ’s Asia program coordinator. “Unpunished attacks on journalists are effectively silencing news coverage and depriving the public of important information about the conflict in Baluchistan.”

Abid was killed by unidentified gunmen on a motorcycle in Panjgur District, about 375 miles (600 kilometers) from Quetta, the provincial capital of the strife-torn province. The journalist had worked for the Urdu-language Dunya News, a news and current affairs TV channel, for several years as a general news reporter.

Abid’s family members told local journalists that they were unaware if the reporter had any enemies, news reports said. Police said they were investigating the case, but that no arrests had been made, according to news reports. No group has claimed responsibility for the shooting.

CPJ is investigating the case to determine if he was killed because of his reporting.

Baluchistan is a scene of protracted violence, where clans and ethnic animosities are aggravated by the area’s extreme poverty. With little or no public security or investigation into crimes in most areas, it is difficult to determine the motives for attacks on journalists. Journalists in the province have repeatedly called for special investigations and more protection, but to no avail.

Another Dunya TV reporter, Mukarram Khan Aatif, was killed by two gunmen in January 2012 outside Peshawar. A Taliban spokesman said the group took responsibility for the killing.

With five journalists killed in direct relation to their work this year, Pakistan ranks as the third deadliest country for journalists in 2012. In 2010 and 2011, the country was ranked the deadliest in the world for journalists. Pakistan ranks 10th on CPJ’s global Impunity Index, which identifies countries where journalists are murdered regularly and governments fail to solve the crimes.

  • For more data and analysis on Pakistan, visit CPJ’s Pakistan page here.