Journalists under fire from many sides
HARIPUR: Bakhsheesh Elahi was waiting for the morning bus when a lone gunman on a motorcycle pulled up beside him and shot him dead. Rana Tanveer had just taken his family to safety after radical Islamists spray-painted death threats on his door, when a car smashed into his motorcycle and sped away.
Taha Siddiqui answered his phone to hear a menacing voice telling him he needed to come in for questioning, without saying why.
The three men are journalists in Pakistan, considered one of the most dangerous places in the world for this profession. But even by Pakistan’s standards, things have gotten worse, according to journalists, Pakistani and international human rights activists, and advocacy groups.
“Journalists are not threatened from one side alone, they are threatened by drug mafia, they are threatened by political gangs. They are also threatened by religious extremists,” said Asma Jehangir, a human rights lawyer and the director of Human Rights Commission of Pakistan.
On June 9, Rana Tanveer (The Express Tribune) was riding his motorcycle after meeting a colleague from the union of journalists in him hometown Lahore to decide how to deal with the threats when a speeding car slammed into him and sent him crashing to the pavement. He suffered a fractured leg and believes it was no accident. Today, he is in hiding with his family, unprotected by police and unsure when he can return to his job.—AP