Quetta, three journalists murdered as attacks on Pakistani press mount
Islamabad (AsiaNews) - Pakistan remains one of the "most hostile nations in the world" for journalists, with a new "wave of threats and attacks" against those who try to "tell the truth". Thus, competent authorities "are being asked to address the problem" and ensure that the reporters "can carry out their profession free from fear", Fr. Irshad John, President of Catholic Journalists, tells AsiaNews commenting on the latest case of violence against reporters in Pakistan.
Yesterday evening, the editor in chief of the online Quetta International News Network Irshad Mastoi was killed along with two other colleagues - Ghulam Rasool Khattak and Younis Khan. Mastoi was also the secretary of the Order of Journalists of Baluchistan and was at the forefront in the defense of the right to information, in a country where reporters are often victims of violence and targeted attacks.
Police sources report that yesterday evening the three journalists were working in their offices, located in Jinnah Road in Quetta, when two armed men stormed the building and opened fire on the journalists, killing them instantly. The assailants managed to flee without trace. The police opened an investigation, while the journalists union is calling for justice and greater protection.
Police archives show that, from 2010 to the present, at least 34 journalists have been killed in the region of Baluchistan. Moreover, in Islamabad at least four journalists were recently assaulted during their coverage of opposition protests against the government that demanded the resignation of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
The Pakistan Forum of Journalists reveals shocking figures: in the last 20 years, 78 journalists have been killed because of their work, while a further158 have been subjected to threats and violent attacks. According to the 2014 report by Reporters Without Borders, Pakistan holds 158th place (out of 180 countries) in terms of press freedom.