A police officer stands guard while paramilitary forces patrol in Karachi, Pakistan, on April 23, 2024. Journalist Muhammad Siddique Mengal died in a bomb attack on World Press Freedom Day on May 3 in Khuzdar, Pakistan. (Photo: Reuters/Akhtar Soomro)

Pakistani journalist Muhammad Siddique Mengal targeted, killed by bomb

New York, May 7, 2024 — Pakistani authorities must thoroughly investigate the killing of journalist Muhammad Siddique Mengal, who died in a bomb attack on World Press Freedom Day, and ensure the perpetrators are brought to justice, the Committee to Protect Journalists said Tuesday.

An unidentified motorcyclist placed a bomb on Mengal’s vehicle at a busy crossing in Khuzdar city, in southwestern Baluchistan province, on Friday, May 3, according to video footage of the explosion and Owais Aslam Ali, secretary-general of the Pakistan Press Foundation, who spoke to CPJ.

Mengal, president of the local Khuzdar Press Club and journalist for the local newspaper The Daily Baakhbar Quetta and Independent News Pakistan news agency, was killed alongside two others in the blast, which also injured at least six people.

CPJ was unable to establish the motive behind Mengal’s killing, and no group has claimed responsibility. Mengal received death threats prior to his death. Baluchistan has seen a decades-long insurgency against the government.

“Pakistani authorities must immediately and transparently investigate the killing of journalist Muhammad Siddique Mengal and determine whether it was linked to his journalism,” said CPJ Asia Program Coordinator Beh Lih Yi. “This brazen attack on World Press Freedom Day underscores the heightened violence and dangers journalists face in Pakistan. The government must end the vicious cycle of impunity.”

In August 2023, Mengal survived an attempt on his life when two unidentified assailants opened fire on his car.

Baluchistan police did not immediately respond to CPJ’s emailed request for comment.

Since 1992, 64 journalists have been killed in connection with their work in Pakistan. The country ranked 11th on CPJ’s 2023 Global Impunity Index, which ranks countries by how often killers of journalists go unpunished.