Two journalists from Pakistan’s Sindh province were killed in two consecutive days, raising the likelihood that the South Asian country looks set to remain one of the world’s most dangerous places to work in media.
Aurangzeb Tunio, a television reporter at Kawaish Television Network was killed most recently on May 10 and Tariq Kamal, a newspaper journalist based in Karachi and working for a local Sindhi newspaper was murdered on May 9. The murders are not related to each other.
Twenty unidentified people shot Tunio dead after storming into his office in Lalu Ranwak, a village in the province of Sindh, about 535 miles south of the Pakistani capital Islamabad. Caught in the shooting, his brother and friend also lost their lives. Earlier, Tunio had received murder threats from his attackers who were angered by his story on tribal groups.
Tensions sparked over Tunio’s story which addressed the relationship between a man and woman from different local tribes who wanted to get married.
“The colleagues who witnessed the killing of Tunio said that the reason he was targeted was because he was covering a tribal feud and they retaliated by killing him,” Ehsan Ahmed Sahar, president of the Rural Media Network Pakistan told the Doha Centre for Media Freedom.
However, the murder of Kamal took place under different circumstances. He had travelled to Pakistan’s Balochistan province with his friend to work on an exclusive story. Militants kidnapped him, kept him in custody for three days and then murdered him. According to local newspapers, his family received calls from the kidnappers informing them that they will kill Kamal because they thought he was a police informant.
Media groups often cite Pakistan as being among the world’s most deadly countries for journalists. Reporters Without Borders says that four journalists have already been killed this year, and ten were murdered last year.
The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has ranked Pakistan as the tenth most dangerous country in the world for journalists for two consecutive years.
“Among all cases, only the killers of Daniel Pearl were arrested by the Pakistani government and that happened because of the pressure by the American government,” said Sahar.
Most are killed either because they cover controversial stories or because they report in conflict areas such as the Swat valley and Balochistan.