PAKISTAN: When a Profession Costs You Your Life

LAMIYA SHABBIR WRITES – At least four media reporters were shot in less than 24 hours, leaving two dead and two injured. M Ilyas Khan, a reporter for BBC in Islamabad, reports, “Police said the motives behind the shootings were not immediately clear.”

On September 9th, Aftab Alam, a former reporter of Pakistan’s private broadcaster Geo News, was shot as he was on his way to pick up his children from school. Arshad Ali Jaffery, a Geo News TV technician, along with the news van’s driver, were also shot at, and resulted in Jaffery’s death.  The driver was brought to an urgent care center.

Abdul Azam Shinwari, a reporter at Pakistan Television, had recently moved to Peshawar due to security reasons and was also injured.  According to Dunya News, “Journalists have been frequently targeted in Karachi in the past decade.”

While Geo News is putting in every effort to find justice for the victims, police have also been working on getting footage from CCTV cameras and tracking phone calls around the area during the time of shooting. Azhar Abbas, the managing director of Geo News, condemns and considers this attack a threat against the freedom of media in Pakistan that has not only affected Geo News, but the media industry as a whole.

Sources have confirmed the motives behind the killings of 56 journalists in Pakistan since 1992, but, according to data collected by The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), the motives behind the murders of 19 other journalists remain unconfirmed. The CPJ identifies the term “motive unconfirmed” as lack of evidence proving why the media personnel were killed, whereas “motive confirmed” is described as media personnel being killed during combat or in crossfire while covering a dangerous assignment or being targeted for a specific article they had written.

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