Accessibility links

Breaking News

5th journalist slain in Pakistan in 2024

Sindh province, Pakistan, and the Afghan-Pakistan border
Sindh province, Pakistan, and the Afghan-Pakistan border

A journalist in Pakistan’s southern Sindh province Friday died of a gunshot wound he sustained in an attack earlier this week, bringing the total number of media workers reported killed nationwide in 2024 to five.

Doctors and officials confirmed the death of Nasrullah Gadani, who was undergoing treatment in a hospital in Karachi, the provincial capital, after being shot and injured by unidentified assailants in a remote Sindh district on Tuesday. There were no claims of responsibility for the attack.

Activists and colleagues said the slain journalist had consistently highlighted the civic issues plaguing impoverished Sindh in his reporting. Gadani also was critical of the powerful feudal lords in the region, which led to his repeated detention by the police, as noted by Pakistani journalist Hamid Mir in this social media post on X, formerly Twitter.

The news of Gadani’s death sparked outrage among journalists and civil society members, leading to a protest demonstration demanding justice for the slain reporter.

“I am deeply in grief and sorrow along with Nasrullah’s family and the media organization he is affiliated with,” Murad Ali Shah, the provincial chief minister, said in a statement. Critics hold Shah’s government for allegedly being behind some of the recent attacks on media workers in Sindh.

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, a leading independent rights watchdog, said it was “deeply concerned” by the situation facing journalists in the country. It urged the Sindh government to investigate Gadani’s killing and hold the perpetrators to account.

Meanwhile, the Committee to Protect Journalists, or CPJ, has pressed Pakistan to immediately reveal the whereabouts of Ahmad Farhad Shah, a freelance journalist and poet.

Several unknown men seized Shah from outside his home at night in the capital, Islamabad, and forced him into a vehicle over a week ago, said a copy of a petition his wife filed with the federal high court shortly after the incident.

Shah’s wife, Syeda Urooj Zainab, has accused the Pakistani spy agency, Inter-Services Intelligence, or ISI, of abducting him for his activism against the country’s powerful military establishment.

“The secretive, late-night seizure of journalist … Shah is further evidence of an intensifying crackdown on media freedom in Pakistan,” the CPJ quoted its program director, Carlos Martinez de la Serna, as saying on Thursday.

“Authorities must either present Ali Shah in court or immediately release him and ensure that law enforcement agencies do their job of investigating crimes against journalists,” Serna said.

On Friday, the Islamabad High Court judge hearing the case summoned senior officers from the country’s intelligence agencies, including the ISI, to respond to the charges in the next hearing scheduled for May 29.

“His whereabouts remain unknown. Ahmad has spoken fearlessly about state oppression and enforced disappearance in the past,” Amnesty International wrote Friday on X.

Pakistan’s ISI has long been accused of forced disappearances of journalists and political as well as human rights activists for criticizing the military’s role in national politics. The agency and successive governments have consistently denied the allegations.