Reporter's murder: Journalists walk out of assembly without covering proceedings -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Reporter’s murder: Journalists walk out of assembly without covering proceedings

KARACHI: Journalists walked out of the Sindh Assembly session on Friday and marched towards the press club as they protested the target killing of their colleague.

Wali Khan Babar, a news reporter for Geo News, was shot dead in Liaquatabad on Thursday night. His fellow journalists staged a sit-in outside the assembly building and marched towards Karachi Press Club amidst shouts of “arrest the killers and protect journalists”.

The session started around 10:10 am, when Fateha was offered for the deceased reporter.

After this, journalists from both the print and electronic media started their boycott despite assurances from several legislators.

Later, the leader of opposition in Sindh Assembly, Jam Madad Ali and Minister for Youth Affairs Faisal Subzwari also joined the protest. The legislators assured that this issue will be raised in the house.

“The incident took place in front of a police station and event the Town Police Office is situated close by,” a journalist pointed out. Several of them questioned why the police did not take Babar to the hospital and allowed him to lie on the road in critical condition.

“This kind of act will not make us hide wrongdoings and we will continue to unearth vices,” another journalist vowed.

Minister for Katchi Abadis Rafique Engineer said that the government will take action without considering how powerful the killers are. Adviser to Sindh Chief Minister on Information and Archives Sharmila Farooqui pointed out that suspects booked in terrorist cases are being acquitted. “Three suspects belonging to banned outfits have been acquitted today, which is very alarming,” she said. Farooqui also joined the journalists as they marched towards the press club.

Condolence meeting at press club

A condolence meeting for the deceased reporter was held at the Karachi Press Club on Friday. The participants recited Fateha for Babar and a senior journalist, Minhaj Berna, who died in Rawalpindi on Friday.

Reporters, editors, photographers and cameramen talked about Babar and his profession life. Geo TV Managing Director Azhar Abbas said, “I feel as if someone has snatched my little brother. He was killed only because he spoke the truth.”

Twelve journalists were killed in 2010 and Babar is the first victim of this year, said Karachi Union of Journalists (KUJ) general-secretary Hassan Abbas. “It seems like we are living in a jungle where there is no law,” he said. If the murderers are not arrested the journalist community will march from Karachi to Islamabad, he warned.

Although the government has failed to control target killings, we still demand protection. “We also want to tell political and religious parties not to kill journalists in their personal fights,” said Karachi Press Club president Tahir Hassan Khan.

The resolution was passed by all journalists present in the meeting. The participants later marched on Sarwar Shaheed Road, holding placards and shouting slogans. They observed a sit-in on the road after which they offered funeral prayers in absentia of senior journalist Minhaj Barna.

Sukkur journalists condemn murder

Sukkur-based journalists held a protest at Clock Tower roundabout to condemn the target killing of Babar. The protesters were led by the Indus Union of Journalists. They criticised the government for failing to provide protection to journalists and vowed to continue telling the truth.

Meanwhile, the Awami National Party has announced three-day mourning for the deceased journalist.
Source: The Express Tribune
Date:1/15/2011