Thursday, January 6, 2011

Body of journalist discovered in volatile Balochistan

24 November 2010

Body of journalist discovered in volatile Balochistan

Lala Hameed Baloch
Lala Hameed Baloch
Baloch Unity Conference
The body of a journalist who disappeared last month in the volatile province of Balochistan was found last week, report Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF), the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) and Reporters Without Borders (RSF). Lala Hameed Baloch's bullet-ridden body was discovered on 18 November outside of Turbat with a note that read "Eid present for the Baloch people." According to PPF, eight other bodies were uncovered across the province during the three-day Eid festival.

Hameed disappeared on 25 October while on his way home in Gwadar. Local journalists believe he was seized by Pakistani security officials, who have been fighting Baloch armed separatists in an ongoing struggle.

Hameed was a reporter and photographer for the "Karachi" and "Tawar" dailies and the president of the Baloch National Movement, a political organisation that advocates for an autonomous Balochistan. Local journalists say his critical reporting about Pakistani authorities and his support for the movement were the motive for his abduction and murder.

Some of the relatives of the other Baloch political workers and students who were also found dead alleged that government officials targeted them for their political activism, reports CPJ.

Enraged Balochs have observed a complete shut down in many districts of Balochistan, while the Press Club in Gwadar observed three days of mourning for Hameed.

According to RSF, Balochistan "is by far the most dangerous region in the Pakistan for the media." Two other journalists were killed in separate incidents in the provincial capital of Quetta earlier this year, says CPJ.

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