Journalists protest against killing of Saleem Shahzad -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Journalists protest against killing of Saleem Shahzad

Karachi: Journalists covering proceedings of the Sindh Assembly on Friday staged a token walkout from the Press Gallery to lodge their protest against the killing of journalist Saleem Shahzad.

They demanded arrest of the killers and a judicial inquiry into the circumstances leading to his kidnapping and murder. They also urged the government to provide protection to media representatives.

Speaking to the protesters, a senior journalist, Shahid Jatoi, said they were protesting on the call of the PFUJ against the killing of Shahzad.

Senior journalist Habib Khan Ghori said the conditions for working journalists had become extremely difficult in the last one decade as over 50 journalists had been killed in the country.

He said it was regrettable that none of the killers of journalists had been taken to task so far. Ghori said the manner in which Shahzad was buried without waiting for the relatives indicated that certain hands had been involved in his abduction and killing.

PPP ministers Mohammad Rafiq, Zahid Bhurghari and Dr Mohan Lal met the protesting reporters. Bhurghari said the media had played a strong role in the struggle for democratic rights.

He pointed out the prime minister had taken notice of the killing.

The minister admitted that the hurried burial had given rise to suspicions.

He promised that they would convey the journalists’ concerns to the chief minister as the slain journalist belonged to Sindh. Subsequently, the media representatives ended their walkout on assurances from the ministers.

Perwez Abdullah adds: Tributes continued to pour in on Friday following the brutal murder of Syed Saleem Shahzad.

The Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) along with the Karachi Union of Journalists (KUJ) held a demonstration outside the Karachi Press Club (KPC) against Shahzad’s killers.

Senior journalist Khurshid Tanveer told The News that his murder sent a chilling message to members of the media that they better toe the line that Pakistan’s “colonists” had set out, or else.

“State terrorism should be curbed as the number of dead journalists is rising. Nobody has the right to kill anyone in such a brutal manner, and it only shows that the country is being governed like a colony with colonisers having the last say — right or wrong,” Tanveer exclaimed angrily.

“He was a man with character who worked with a missionary zeal,” said Secretary KPC Moosa Kaleem.

Another senior journalist, on the condition of anonymity, warned that all journalists should be careful not to cross the “invisible red line”.

“He (Shahzad) crossed the limit and paid the price with his life. But still, nobody is allowed to terminate a journalist’s life in such a brutal fashion,” he said.

Regarding the security of journalists in Pakistan, he questioned whether the armed forces were performing their duties to protect civilians.

A former colleague admired Shahzad’s investigative reporting and said that he was fearless when it came to his work.

“He never did any story that was not based on facts and his interest in the topic of terrorism increased following 9/11, after which he remained immersed in his work. He became a specialist on terrorism in his own right and other journalists used to take their cue from him,” he said.

Source: The News

Date:6/4/2011