December 15, 2018

Press Freedom

Pakistan

OPC Protests Brutal Murder of Pakistani Journalist

H.E. Asif Al Zadari
President
Office of the President
Awan-E-Sadar
Constitution Avenue
Islamabad
Islamic Republic of Pakistan
Fax: (011.92.51.2) 920.3938

Your Excellency:

We must ask you, sir, what is Pakistan becoming?

In a year when the situation facing Pakistani journalists could not seem to get any worse, on October 7, our colleague, Faisal Qureshi, of The London Post was found dead in his home in Lahore.  His throat had been slit and his body showed evidence of torture.

Suspicion has immediately fallen on the Muttahida Quami Movement, Pakistan’s third largest political party.  Recently, The London Post published articles investigating the party’s ties to terrorism and murder and calling into question the suspicious travel activities of its exiled London-based leader.  According to Qureshi’s brother, Zahidthe, Faisal Qureshi received death threats from men claiming to represent the party after the articles were published.

Pakistan, as we are sure you must know, was already “the deadliest country in the world for journalists,” according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.  According to Reporters Without Borders, in 2011, at least eight Pakistani journalists have been killed in retribution for their reporting.  Faisal Qureshi’s killing would appear to bring the year’s total to nine.

Over-arching all these deaths is the appearance of virtual immunity for the killers of journalists when the killers appear to be well connected politically.  By the reckoning of CPJ Pakistan now ranks 10th on the global Impunity Index, which spotlights countries where journalists are slain and authorities fail to solve the crimes.

Only last summer, two senior officials of the Obama administration confirmed in The New York Times that Saleem Shahzad, bureau chief of the Asian Times Online, was probably murdered on the orders of the Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence after his reporting documented the Navy’s incompetence in preventing and then in dealing with an attack by Al Qaeda militants on its base in Karachi last May.  With that news, as we told you at the time, the world moved from circumstantial and logical inference to an assertion of evidence that a Pakistani journalist was assassinated in order to keep him silent and intimidate his colleagues.

For a 21st Century democracy like Pakistan to be accused of such a thing should be a humiliation.  For our colleagues, it is more than that.  It is a matter of life or death.

Respectfully yours,
Larry Martz
Kevin McDermott
Freedom of the Press Committee

cc’s:

H E. Hussain Haqqani         
Ambassador of Pakistan to the U.S.A.
Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan              
3517 International Court, NW              
Washington, DC 20008       

Ambassador Abdullah Hussain Haroon
Permanent Representative
Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan to the United Nations
8 East 65th Street
New York, NY  10021
Fax: (212) 744.7348

H.E. Cameron Munter
U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan
Embassy of the United States of America
Diplomatic Enclave, Ramna 5
Islamabad
Pakistan
Fax: (011.92.51) 227.6427

Nurul Kabir
New Age
Holiday Building
30, Tejgaon Industrial Area
Dhaka-1208
Bangladesh
Fax: (011.880.2) 811.2247

Mr. Abbas Nasir
Editor-in-Chief
Dawn TV
Haroon House, Dr. Ziauddin Ahmed Road
Karachi 74200
Pakistan
Fax: (011.92.21) 569.3995
webmaster@dawn.com

Rana Qaisar
Islamabad Resident Editor
Daily Times
Aquhbar Market, Moti Plaza
Murree Road
Rawalpindi
Pakistan
(ranakaisar@hotmail.com)

M.A. Zubari
Editor-in-chief
Business Recorder
Recorder House
531 Business Recorder Road
Karachi 74550
Pakistan
(edkhi@br-mail.com)

Pakistan Press Foundation
ppf@pakistanpressfoundation.org

Maria Otero
Under Secretary of State for Democracy
and Global Affairs
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street, N.W.
Washington, DC  20520

The London Post
editor@thelondonpost.net