A local journalist was shot dead outside the Lahore Press Club on Monday by unknown assailants, the sources have confirmed. The journalist was reportedly in his car when the assailants, on bikes, intercepted him and shot him dead inside the vehicle.
According to the details, Hasnain Shah, the slain journalist, was a crime reporter for a local TV channel and also a member of the LPC. Lahore Police officials assured the media that they will employ all the resources at their disposal to apprehend the perpetrators.
The killing of the journalists engendered a massive outcry among the Pakistani journalists, a community often at the receiving end of violence. Pakistan Federal Union of Journalist (PFJU) President Shehzada Zulfiqar, Secretary-General Nasir Zaidi and Treasurer Zulfiqar Ali Mahto condemned the incident. They said the provincial government has failed to maintain law and order in the city.
Lahore Economic Journalist Association also condemned the killing and said that the lives of journalists are not safe and the administration has failed to protect them.
Lahore Press Club President Azam Chaudhry said a journalist’s murder in front of the press club in broad daylight is a moment of reflection for the government, adding that the incident would not go unnoticed and the authorities will be held responsible if culprits are not apprehended soon.
Press freedom in Pakistan is in serious jeopardy. International human rights groups and journalists’ associations argue that Pakistan’s ‘deep state’ – a euphemism for the all-powerful military and the Intelligence agencies of the country – has resorted to flagrant displays of violence against journalists and reporters in an attempt to put an end to independent investigative journalism. The military has been accused of imprisoning journalists on made-up charges, exercising violence on them and even killing them.
Pakistan currently ranks 145th in the World Press Freedom Index of the Reporters Without Borders.