Young journalist Abid Hussain in Dewan Sahib town in Borewala tehsil of Vehari district in Punjab province succumbed to injuries a day after he was attacked on August 22, 2018, read the First Information Report (FIR). His father said Hussain was killed for his reporting on criminals in the area.
“We are shocked by murder of young journalist Abid Hussain and expresses condolence with the bereaved family and his colleagues,” Freedom Network, Pakistan’s first media watchdog said in Press Freedom Alert on August 29, 2018.
It said: “The murder reminds us that journalists are not safe and the state of Pakistan and the government must take urgent steps to provide enabling environment for professional and investigative journalism.”
The Alert added that since police arrested four nominated accused after the case was registered law-enforcing agency must complete investigation at the earliest to help begin trial to bring the perpetrators of crime to justice so Pakistan fights impunity for crimes against journalists.
Pakistan has dismal history of fighting impunity as only three cases of murdered journalists out of 117 of killed journalists have so far been decided.
According to information Freedom Network obtained, Ghulam Fareed, father of the deceased journalist, lodged the FIR and he nominated the accused and narrated the incident how the journalist was attacked in front of him.
In the FIR which was lodged on August 24 – two days after the attack – the filer said that the accused stopped Abid Hussain and one of the attackers – Tahir Hussain – challenged him: “We will teach you today a lesson for filing reports against us.”
“They (attackers) attacked him with sota (sticks) on different body parts, including head. The attackers warned others they would face the same fate if they came forward (to rescue the journalist),” according to the FIR.
Hussain succumbed to his wounds in Nishtar Hospital in Multan district on August 23 at 11.30pm, according to the FIR.
He worked for Sangemail newspaper, based in Multan.
The father said the accused – Tahir Hussain and Muhammad Imran – were alleged “criminals” and his son had reported criminal activities.
Police arrested four nominated accused, the father told Freedom Network. “The reason why my journalist was murdered was stated in the FIR.”
Local police booked the accused under Pakistan Penal Code Sections 302, 109 and 34.
Hussain is the third journalist murdered in Pakistan this year. Sub-editor Anjum Muneer Raja was killed in Rawalpindi near Islamabad on March 1 and journalist Zeeshan Ashraf Butt in Sialkot on March 27.
Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) condemned the journalist’s murder and urged the provincial government of Punjab province to complete investigation to start legal trial.
Scanned Copy of FIR