Balochistan Sets Up Tribunals To Investigate Journalists’ Murders

Balochistan government has constituted two different judicial tribunals to investigate six murder cases of journalists killed in the province since 2011.

A statement from the Home Department in Quetta, capital of southern Balochistan province, said April 1, 2015, that the two tribunals would work in Khuzdar and Makran districts to investigate these murder cases of journalists.

The ToRs – terms of reference – for the tribunals, according to the statement, include that investigation should fix people responsible for these murders and also recommend measures to prevent such murders of journalists in the future.

According to the ToRs, the tribunals will only take up the six cases Balochistan government suggested. They include: Abdul Haq Baloch, Javed Ahmed and Munir Shakil from Khuzdar district and Abdul Razzaq, Abudost Rind and Ilyas Nazar from coastal Makran district.

All these six journalists were killed during 2011 and 2013.

Shehzada Zulfiqar, president of Quetta Press Club, reiterated the demand that all killed journalists’ cases should be investigated and killers brought to justice.

“Why six or twelve journalists’ murder cases are to be investigated? Why not the provincial government investigates all murder cases involving journalists,” Shehzada was quoted as saying.

The provincial government, according to sources in the Home Department, refused to take up those murder cases of journalists in which the deceased’s families alleged that intelligence agencies were behind these murders.

Media is under attack in Balochistan since the province sank deeper into insurgency, militancy and sectarian violence for last many years and Khuzdar is the most violence-hit districts in the province.

The provincial government observed March 27 as “Journalists Martyrs Day” inviting families of some of slain journalists. However, uninvited families of other slain journalists “cried foul” at the government move for their exclusion. During the occasion, Balochistan Home Secretary Akbar Hussain Durrani said a number of slain journalists’ families were “compensated.” However, he did not give details.

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