A case of murder and pardoning — Remembering Sajid Tanoli
Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF) remembers journalist Sajid Tanoli, a reporter with a regional Urdu daily newspaper Shumal, who in 2004, was killed by Khalid Javed, the mayor of Mansehra in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province
The murder of Tanoli and the eventual pardoning of the murderer by the victim’s family is a common trend that has been observed in Pakistan where deceased journalists’ families are offered blood money to settle cases and are often placed under extreme pressure to pardont he
accused. It results in continued impunity for those who perpetrate crimes against the media.
On January 29, 2004, Tanoli was stopped on a highway, dragged from his car and shot multiple times. According to reports, he received four bullet wounds — two on his head, one on his neck and one to his chest.
As per reports, Tanoli had written an article alleging that Javed was running a liquor business. The next day Javed had filed a libel suit against Tanoli and demanded a written apology.
Police had filed murder charges against Javed, who fled the scene. They also arrested his brother and son who were suspected to be accomplices in the murder, Committee to Protect Journalists reported.
According to police, Javed was arrested in 2005. However, both parties patched up and the case was withdrawn from court.In 2006, Tanoli’s family pardoned the accused.
According to Tanoli’s brother, Ali Asghar Tanoli, Javed paid Rs25 million to the family as compensation for the death.
“We resolved the matter with Khalid (Javed) because our judicial system is slow, Khalid was on bail and he could do anything,” he told PPF.
Mansehra Press Club President Waseem Sarwar remembered Tanoli as a passionate journalist who wrote about the situation in the area without any fear and died for the same reason.
“It is unfortunate that even [when] the killer was obvious, our judicial system did not provide justice to Sajid.”
Shumal Editor Hanif Awan said that Tanoli had loved journalism and was a “very patriotic and hardworking journalist”.“He died for his critical reporting,” Awan said.