Murdered for exposing truth – PPF remembers Zubair Ahmed Mujahid
Fourteen years ago on November 23rd a journalist Zubair Ahmed Mujahid, correspondent of daily Jang Urdu in Mirpurkhas, Sindh province of Pakistan was shot dead while traveling on a motorcycle with another journalist. He was targeted by unidentified gunmen and his case has not yet been submitted in any court by the police. In fact, it is being pending in Crime Branch Hyderabad.
The family of Mujahid had knocked many doors and pleaded for the justice but it was not more than a vain attempt. Rasheeda Zubair, widow of Mujahid had written letters (sent via post) to the then governor of Sindh province, in January 2008; Sindh Chief Minister in June 2008; Chief Justice of Supreme Court of Pakistan and former Sindh Interior Minister requesting them to give her justice but not received any response.
The report “Breaking the Silence: An Investigation into the Murder of Zubair Mujahid” has highlighted the police investigation failures following the murder.
Mujahid, who had been associated with journalism for almost 30 years, was believed to be murdered on November 23, 2007, for his reporting and write ups on issues like bonded labor and private torture cells, allegedly run by local landlords with the support of police. In response of his report published in Jang on June 6, 2007 about torturing of two brothers namely Noor Mohammad and Nangar Keerio by Station House Officer, Assistant Superintendent Police and their driver in Mirpurkhas, Mujahid received death threats.
According to Salman Mujahid, son of slain journalist, his father received death threats from the then District Police Officer (DPO), once was arrested on the directions of same Police officer, who bothered him through various ways, threatened him of dire consequences and also threatened Mujahid’s friends.
Mujahid directed his wife that if any mishap occurred with him or the family, registered the complaint against DPO
In his weekly column in Jang “Jurm o Saza” (Crime and Punishment), Mujahid used to highlight instances of injustice by the influential landlords, and police brutality His reporting on the high profile case of Manu Bheel, a bonded laborer whose family had been kidnapped, had led to arrests of four police personnel of Station House Officers rank.
According to the article written by Zaheer Ahmed published in Jasarat an Urdu daily after the murder of Mujahid, “like Manu Bheel case stories, story of arrest of Deputy Inspector General (DIG) police was remained topic of newspapers and Mujahid became famous because of his these stories. Mujahid in his stories pointed out the flaws in the system of police. Seven days before his murder, he on November 14, 2007, in his report published in Jang discussed about posting of new DIG police in Mirpur Khas in his report and highlighted that seven DIGs posted and transferred with that year.
The case was filed on the complaint of Chaudhry Iftikhar Arain, brother of the deceased journalist. According to the letters the widow of slain journalist written to the government, a team of six members supervised by Sub-divisional Police Officer (SPO) Atta Mohammad Nizamani was investigating the murder but no fruitful result had been seen.
According to Khalid Parvez nephew of Mujahid, who had been following the case, Mujahid was targeted very closely. His shirt did not have the hole of bullet that hit Mujahid but his vest had a hole of gunshot; therefore he believes that the gun was put on an abdomen to make the shot.
Mujahid was on his way to home on a motorcycle with a journalist friend Wahid Pehalwani associated with daily Qainat newspaper, who confirmed his accompany with Mujahid at the time he was shot. Pehalwani said, “I was along with Mujahid on our way to home when a motorcycle coming from wrong side crossed us, mean time I heard a sound like boom but thought that tyre of our motorcycle was burst. But suddenly Mujahid started losing his senses, blood was not oozing so I thought Mujahid had heart attack and I took him in the car of Javed Arain to the Civil Hospital Mirpurkhas, where I came to know that Mujahid was shot and he died there.