KARACHI, August 17: International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX), the global network of 104 organisations promoting and defending freedom of expression worldwide, in two separate letters, has urged new Sindh Chief Minister (CM) Syed Murad Ali Shah and Inspector General of Police (IGP) Sindh to pay attention towards ongoing investigation into the killing of Abb Takk television’s journalist Shan Dahar.
“The IFEX network previously wrote to predecessor Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah and other relevant Pakistani officials at the national and provincial level when it was announced that the Deputy Inspector General of Larkana Police would open a reinvestigation into this case,” IFEX said in a letter to the Sindh chief minister.
It said that the reinvestigation decision has been welcomed by IFEX and its local member, the Pakistan Press Foundation in light of evidence cited by both the family of Shan Dahar and Pakistani media groups that the killing was a targeted act motivated by his journalistic work exposing corruption in Larkana District.
IFEX said: “Unfortunately, since the announcement of the reinvestigation, little progress has been made and justice for the killing of Shan Dahar appears to be no closer. On the contrary, efforts to discover the true circumstances of the journalist’s death seem to have ground to a halt after Superintendent of Sindh Police Tauqeer Naeem, the lead investigator for the case, was transferred to a different station in Karachi. “
It said Pakistan has become one of the most dangerous countries in the world for practicing journalism, with 58 cases of journalist killings documented by UNESCO since 1997.
IFEX said that while some positive steps have been taken in recent years, including the participation of Pakistan as a pilot country for the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity, and the proposed draft bill for Journalists’ Protection and Welfare, the fact remains that the vast majority of these cases have gone unpunished.
Meanwhile, as a follow up to its previous letter sent on 19 May 2016 regarding the reinvestigation into the killing of Abb Takk television journalist Shan Dahar, IFEX wrote another letter to Inspector General of Police (IGP) Sindh as saying: “We are concerned over the fact that since the opening of the reinvestigation in April 2016, little progress has been made and justice for Shan Dahar’s killing is no closer than when the investigation first launched. On the contrary, efforts to discover the true circumstances of the journalist’s death seem to have ground to a halt after Superintendent of Sindh Police Tauqeer Naeem was transferred to Karachi.”
It said that the victim family and local media have highlighted that Dahar’s murder was a likely targeted killing linked to his journalistic reporting on the illicit sale of donated medicine in Larkana district.
IFEX asked Sindh chief minister and IGP Sindh to immediately resume the investigation into Dahar’s murder in impartial manner and as per transparent investigative standards.