New York, June 13, 2017--Pakistani police and prosecutors should credibly investigate death threats and a possible attempt on the life of Express Tribune journalist Rana Tanveer and should bring the perpetrators to justice, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
Tanveer told CPJ that a car ran into him at high speed as he traveled by motorbike on a small road in Lahore on June 9, breaking his leg, and that he believed the incident to have been a deliberate attempt on his life. On May 30, the journalist, who has written extensively about religious minorities in Pakistan, awoke to find his home in Lahore had been vandalized with messages calling him a supporter of the Ahmadi sect of Islam and calling for his death. Tanveer told CPJ that he left his home as a precaution and reported the incident to police, but that they did not open a First Information Report, which is necessary for investigations to take place.
Tanveer told CPJ that he has received several threats over the years, both at his workplace and home. Roughly three months ago, Tanveer said, an unidentified caller phoned his landlord and told him that he should stop renting to the journalist because he was "an enemy of Islam." In 2013, he said, he received a threatening letter at his office, and the following year he received several threatening phone calls in reponse to his reporting. Tanveer said that he reported the incidents to police, but that they took no action. Police did open an investigation to determine who ran into him while he was on his motorbike, Tanveer said.
"It's outrageous that police failed to act when Rana Tanveer reported threats to his life," said CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon. "We call on authorities to swiftly bring to justice those responsible for vandalizing Tanveer's home."
Police in Lahore did not respond to CPJ's phone calls and emails seeking comment.