December 17, 2018

Press Freedom

Pakistan

Pakistan November 27, 2012

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) 920.3928

Your Excellency:

The recent murder of Haider Ali, a brave witness willing to testify in the murder case of Geo TV correspondent, Wali Khan Babar, is an outrage to the world and a betrayal of your nation.  The Freedom of the Press Committee of the Overseas Press Club of America urges you and all the government authorities in Pakistan to stop the murder of journalists and those who witness these heinous crimes.

For the sake of your people, this is a critical moment for upholding the law and prosecuting the criminals who would silence the press and the quest for the truth.  The failure to protect witnesses, especially after promising them security, is unforgivable and extremely damaging to the best interests of your country.  All the will and force of the government’s executive, judicial and military branches must be exerted in Pakistan by you and other authorities immediately for the sake of justice in your nation and the world.

You must not stand by as the eyes of your nation are blinded, the ears of your nation are muffled, the voices of your nation silenced and the conscience of your nation destroyed.

The failure of your government and all the legal and moral authorities of Pakistan to protect witnesses in the murder case of Geo TV correspondent, Wali Khan Babar, gravely weakens your government and society — while strengthening the resolve and vicious behavior of your opponents and the enemies of civil society and the rule of law.

According to news reports from Pakistan, Haider Ali may well be the sixth witness in the case to be killed, while efforts to protect them have been woefully inadequate by those responsible for law enforcement and jus tice.  Even though there are significant investigative leads that call for questioning the role of MQM political party leaders in the murders, no such inquiry appears to be underway with any effect.  Indeed, reports suggest that a Joint Investigation Team believes it has discovered evidence that Agha Murtaza, an MQM leader living in South Africa, may have telephoned the order to assassinate Wali Khan Babar to another MQM operative, Faisal Mota, to facilitate the murder in Karachi.  Neither Murtaza nor Mota has been questioned yet, according to news reports.

The Overseas Press Club of America can only ask: What are you waiting for?  Why is the pursuit of justice and the protection of witnesses not in the paramount interest of Pakistan?  We ask you to re-consider your lack of action so far and urge you and your colleagues to find the courage to hunt down the killers of Ali, Babar, the other witnesses and all the other journalists who have been silenced in your country. On behalf of humanity, we ask you to find the conviction to act in the name of justice.

Respectfully yours,
Allan Dodds Frank
John Martin
Freedom of the Press Committee

cc’s:

H.E. Sherry Rehmen
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 65 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
Fas: (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 Admed Road
Karachi  74200
Pakistan
Fax: (011.92.21) 569.3995

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

M.A. Zaubari
Editor-in-Chief
Business Recorder
Recorder House
531 Business Recorder Road
Karachi  74550
Pakistan
edkhi@br-mail.com

Pakistan Press Foundation
ppf@pakistanpressfoundation.org

The London Post
editor@thelondonpost.net

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