IT is about two weeks since unknown armed men gunned down Amir Bakhsh Brohi, a Sindhi journalist, barely 50 yards from the Shikarpur district police officer’s office. That the gruesome act took place in broad daylight in the heart of the city and in front (;f the district police head-quarters and the assailants got away so easily is a sad commentary on the state of law and order in the province. What is worse is that the police have made no arrests so far. The victim’s family alleges that a powerful local feudal lord is behind the murder, and that the police are pressuring the uncle of the murdered journalist to withdraw his FIR. The allegations sound plausible, knowing the police collusion or apathy in many such cases in the past.
This is not the first time that a journalist has been targeted in this brutal manner. Another local journalist was gunned down in Karachi only last month. Shahid Soomro was killed in a similar manner by unknown attackers in Kadhkot in October last. The on-going protest by journalists and demands by their representative bodies, as well as by several rights groups, to hold a judicial inquiry into the murder have gone unheeded. The anger and bitteness within the journalist community are so strong and widespread that on Tuesday the members of the fraternity in Islamabad boycotted the coverage of the National Assembly proceedings as a show of protest. So far, the government has only given assurances but done nothing to apprehend the culprits. Killing of or violence against journalists anywhere in the world raise serious questions, including those of possible official connivance at these, more so in our country where intolerance is pervasive and all forms of criticism are detested. The government should know that any, further delay in bringing the killers of journalists to book will only make things on the press front infinitely worse.