Pakistani journalist Muhammad Khan Sasoli was murdered Tuesday in Khuzdar, a town in the southwestern province of Balochistan that sees frequent clashes between government security forces and armed Balochi nationalists. The correspondent of Royal TV and the INP news agency and president of the town’s press club, he was gunned down outside his home, Paris-based press freedom group Reporters sans Frontières (RSF) has reported.
It urged the local and federal authorities to carry out an exhaustive investigation into the murders of Sasoli and the three other journalists killed this year in Balochistan. Only by arresting and punishing their murderers will the authorities be able to put a stop to the violence against Pakistani journalists, which has reached an unprecedented level in 2010.
It is deplorable that since US reporter Daniel Pearl’s murder in 2002, no one has been brought to trial for the murder of a journalist in Pakistan, RSF said. A total of 12 journalists have been killed in Pakistan this year alone.
Aged 36, Sasoli was a “serious and professional journalist,” colleagues told RSF. He was shot four times in the head and chest by two men on motorcycle waiting outside his house and died instantly.
No group has so far claimed the killing. Khuzdar Press Club vice-president Riaz Mengal said Sasoli was not a member of any nationalist party or group. “We are being targeted and the government is not taking any measures to protect journalists in this province,” he said.
Balochistan, especially the Khuzdar district, is extremely dangerous for journalists because of the “dirty war” being waged between the security forces and Balochi nationalists.
Three other journalists have been killed in the district this year. They are Abdul Hameed Hayatan, who was killed on November 18, Ejaz Raisini, killed on September 3, and Faiz Muhammad Sasoli, killed on June 27.