QUETTA: The Balochistan Union of Journalists (BUJ) on Friday condemned the Balochistan government for its failure to protect journalists.
So far, more than 40 journalists have been killed in the line of duty.
The bodies of three journalists killed on Thursday were buried in their hometowns. Irshad Mastoi was laid to rest in his ancestral town in Jacobabad. Abdul Rasul was buried in Sibi while burial ceremony for Mohammed Yunous was held in Quetta.
BUJ staged a protest demonstration outside the Quetta Press Club to condemn the killings.
Journalists in the provincial capital also observed black day by wearing black armbands. They also hoisted black flags at the Quetta Press Club.
The protesting journalists demanded that law enforcers arrest the killer. They also urged the government to suspend the station house officer, (SHO), deputy superintendent of police (DSP) and superintendent of police (SP) for their negligence.
BUJ members Razaur Rehman, Saleem Shahid and Anwar Sajidi addressed the speakers.
They said there was no writ of the government in Balochistan. “There is lawlessness. What could be worse than a gruesome incident that took place yesterday? Armed men entered the office of the Online News Agency on second storey of Kabir Building on Jinnah Road, a commercial area in the city. They opened fire from point-blank range, ensuring the instant death of the journalist,” said speakers.
They shouted slogans against law enforcers and the government.
“Chief Minister Dr Malik Baloch had announced a judicial inquiry into the killings of journalists in Balochistan about four months ago. However, the judicial commission has not been formed despite the lapse of four months,” said Razaur Rehman, Quetta Press Club president. “This government is incompetent and does not have any right to rule.”
Saleem Shahid, PFUJ vice president, said it was the government’s responsibility to protect the citizens in Balochistan, but it has failed to do so.
Anwar Sajidi said, “Not a single murder of a journalist is properly investigated in Balochistan. This will discourage young people to join this profession and it will deeply impact the work of journalists.”
Nasay Yusufzai, BUJ vice president, said the police had not allowed anyone to take the bodies to hospital.
“Young reporter was breathing for 45 minutes. His life could have been saved but police arrived with the delay of an hour and did not allow anyone to transport the victims,” he said.
The protesters adopted three resolutions in which they demanded immediate arrest of the culprits involved in these killings, suspension of SHO, DSP and SP of the police station concerned.
The third resolution was to strongly condemn this incident and demanded that the government form a commission and submit a report within days not years.
The protesters passed the resolution unanimously.
Journalists in Gwadar also protested outside the Gwadar Press Club. The protesting journalists shouted slogans in support of the freedom of expression. “The deadly attack is meant suppress the voice of media. The criminals are given complete impunity in Balochistan where targeting media workers have become a routine matter,” said Gwaharam Baloch, the Gwadar Press Club president.
Worker of political parties and civil society also participated in the protest.
On the other hand, law enforcers held a meeting to investigate the killing of Mastoi, Abdul Rasul and Younus.
The Balochistan chief secretary chaired the meeting in Quetta. Capital City Police Officer (CCPO) Abdul Razzaq Cheema submitted the report of the incident.
Home Secretary Akbar Durrani, FC and police officials attended the meeting.
Security officials visited the crime scene with sniffer dogs and collected evidence.
“Nine casings of 9MM pistol were recovered from the crime scene. Mastoi was shot in head, chest and mouth. Abdul Rasul received one bullet in chest while Younus one in head,” Home Secretary Akbar Durrani told reporters, quoting the report submitted by police.
“No armed group claimed the responsibility for these killings. Police are working on clues,” he said.
According to the home secretary, the killers had entered the office and talked to Mastoi before opening fire.
“A masked man was waiting downstairs while one went upstairs. The killer first talked to Mastoi and then opened fire,” he said.
An FIR has been registered at Bijli Road police station against unidentified killers under Sections 302, 34 and 7-Anti Terrorism Act (ATA).
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