A prominent Pakistani journalist was found dead on April 19 after being strangled, and while the motives for the murder are not yet known, fears for press freedom in the South Asian state have once again been stoked by violence.
The body of Murtaza Razvi, an editor at Pakistan’s most widely read English newspaper Dawn, was found in an office apartment building in Karachi, the country’s largest city.
Razvi's family reportedly cautioned the media against speculation that he had been murdered in reprisal for his work and told local journalists that he had no personal enemies, news reports said. Local journalists told the Committee to Protect Journalists that the motive of the murder was unclear.
“According to police, Razvi’s body was found in an office apartment in the Defence Housing Authority (DHA) area. His hands were tied and his body bore torture marks and he had apparently been strangled to death. However, the real cause of his death will be established after the postmortem has been performed, police said,” a report in Dawn said. “The late journalist’s family has said that he did not have any personal enmity with anyone. They have requested the media not to speculate until the police apprehend his killer(s).”
Dawn’s Editor Zaffar Abbas said: “Murtaza was a generous friend and a highly talented journalist. In his death the journalist fraternity has lost a fearless writer.”
According to press freedom organisations, Pakistan has one of the world’s worst rate for protecting journalists in terms of the number of reporters who are murdered, and the country’s record of fighting impunity.
Reporters Without Borders ranked Pakistan at 151 out of 179 countries in its latest press freedom index.
It has been reported that over 100 journalists were killed in Pakistan in 2011.