Armed men killed Afridi, 48, as he was heading to a local press club from his home in the city of Kalat, news reports said. Afridi had worked for the Urdu-language print and online The Daily Intekhab for almost 20 years, and was the head of the Kalat Press Club, according to Anwar Sajidi, executive editor of the paper, who spoke to CPJ by phone.
Afridi’s reports focused mostly on local issues, including education, electricity, and water. Anwar Mengal, general-secretary of the Kalat Press Club, told CPJ he had not filed any sensitive stories in the weeks leading up to his death.
The Associated Press reported that Afridi’s colleagues had said he had received threatening calls from a Baluch nationalist group before his death. But local news reports cited Afridi’s colleagues as saying they were not aware of any threats against the journalist. Mengal also told CPJ he was unaware if the journalist had received threats.
Mengal and the Pakistan Press Foundation told CPJ that shortly after Afridi’s death, the Baloch Liberation Army claimed responsibility, saying it believed Afridi was working for intelligence agencies.
Members of the Pakistan Press Foundation told CPJ they believed Afridi was targeted in reprisal for his reporting, but did not offer details. It is difficult to determine the motives for attacks on journalists in Baluchistan, as there is little to no public security or investigation into crimes.
Sajidi told CPJ that Afridi had operated under the same pressures faced by other journalists in Baluchistan. Journalists in Baluchistan work in a dangerous climate, under pressure to report in line with the views of several elements, including pro-Taliban groups, security forces, and intelligence agencies, as well as Baluch separatists and state-sponsored anti-separatist militant groups.
Afridi is survived his wife and two children.