Threat Data Analysis – April 2022
A journalist in Punjab province succumbed to his bullet wounds after he was hit in head while doing professional duty as nine attacks against journalists in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab, Sindh and federal capital city Islamabad were documented and monitored during April 2022 through the Pakistan Press Club Safety Hubs Network programme, an award-winning civil liberty organisation that has been managed by Freedom Network since early 2016.
Award-winning media watchdog organization Freedom Network has been assisting journalists at risk in four different categories in partnership with three press clubs in Lahore, Quetta and Peshawar under the Pakistan Press Club Safety Hub Network programme since February 2016.
KILLED: 7 News channel reporter Ziaur Rehman Farooqi in Khanewal district in Punjab province succumbed to his bullet wounds on 28 April 2022. He died in a Multan hospital where doctors tried their best to save the journalist. Ziaur Rehman was intercepted by 12 armed men on Canal Road in Kabirwala yelling at him for making footage of illegal occupation of land and airing it on his channel. “You defamed us. We will teach you a lesson,” the armed men were heard yelling at the journalist, according to his colleagues who accompanied him while he was intercepted. One of the men opened fire at the journalist, said fellow reporter Ameer Haider Shah. Ziaur Rehman died of wounds on 28 April 2022. An FIR was registered and main accused was freed after a court granted him interim bail.
ATTEMPT TO KILL: Umar Hayat, correspondent of Badalta Zameen newspaper in tehsil Jampur, district Rajanpur in Punjab province, escaped failed attempt on his life on 23 April 2022. “They aimed to kill me,” the correspondent told Freedom Network. “The attackers were armed and they were unhappy over my report about sacked police cop Akram Hajana,” he went on to say. “The attackers threw petrol to set me on fire.” Police registered an FIR as a local court set the accused free on bail. The journalist vowed to pursue legal action against the attackers.
Click the below link to read March 2022 threat data analysis report:
ASSAULTED: Former Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government minister Bakht Bedar along with supporters assaulted Shah Faisal Afghani, president of Chakdara Press Club beating him up severely on 02 April 2022 in Chakdara town, Malakand Division in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. The attack took place on the premises of District Returning Officer in Chakdara town, according to the journalist. “The former minister accused me of changing election results,” he said. “How can a journalist change election results?” he wondered. The incident related to second phase of polls about Local Government in the area.
OFFLINE HARASSMENT: Dozens of workers of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party attacked journalists and photojournalists smashing their equipment during the party’s public meeting in Peshawar on 14 April 2022. Senior photographer Fayyaz Aziz said PTIworkers attacked him and damaged his camera during the public meeting which party leader Imran Khan addressed. Sajjad Khayal’s laptop was stolen also. “They had not only attacked us, but damaged our equipment and hurled insulting sentences at us,” they told Freedom Network.
In Lahore, 92 News channel reporter Khawar Mughal was meted out harsh treatment by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party workers at Greater Iqbal Park where the journalist went to cover the public meeting of PTI on 21 April 2022. “They stopped me at entry gate despite showing journalism credentials. While calling others, they snatched my glasses and TV mike logo.”
Pakistan Muslim League (N) supporters harassed ARY News channel’s report Chand Nawab in Karachi on 30 April 2022. The PML-N supporters harassed the journalist to express anger at the channel’s pro-Imran Khan editotial policy.
ONLINE HARASSMENT: A smear poster campaign was launched against TV journalist Ghardida Farooqi for her expression against former prime minister Imran Khan and his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party with “sexy slogans” inscribed with. PTI supporters held these posters during party’s public meetings after joint opposition dislodged Khan as prime minister in a no-confidence motion.
Threats, attacks against various types of media:
Five print and four TV journalists faced the nine cases of attacks during April 2022.
Threat actors attacking and harassing journalists and the media:
In five out of nine cases, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party was seen involved while in one case PML-N, in two cases a criminal gang and in one case a former KP government minister.
NOTE: Freedom Network closed Karachi and Islamabad safety hubs this year after the Sindh and federal governments enacted special laws to protect journalists and help end impunity for crimes against media. It was the exit strategy while designing this assistance mechanism way back in November 2015.
CAPTION: Late journalist Ziaur Rehman