Two Journalists Shot Dead In Three Days In Sindh & Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Provinces

Two media practitioners were killed in Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces in span of three days with young print journalist Nasrullah Gadani becoming the latest victim of impunity for crimes against journalists sweeping across Pakistan after another young tribal digital journalist Kamran Dawar was shot and dead outside his residence in North Waziristan on 21 May 2024.

Sindhi journalist Nasrullah Gadani lost Friday (24 May 2024) struggle for his life at a hospital bed as he was pronounced dead 48 hours after he received bullet wounds in attack on his life in Ghotki district in on 21 May 2024 by unidentified gunmen.

Nasrullah was pronounced dead Friday morning as doctors made all possible efforts to help save the journalist’s life after he was critically shot and wounded in abdomen and lungs, Awami Awaz Editor Jabbar Khattak told Freedom Network.

He is the second journalist killed in span of just three days after unknown gunmen shot and dead young digital journalist Kamran Dawar in Miranshah, headquarters of North Waziristan, on 21 May 2024.

“Two brutal murders of two young journalists in span of three days speak volume of deeply-rooted impunity for crimes against journalists in Pakistan, media watchdog Freedom Network Executive Director Iqbal Khattak said Friday in a press statement.

Both the Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa governments obligated under law of the land to prosecute the perpetrators of crimes against media in the country, he said. “Murderers of these two journalists should not go unpunished, otherwise, we will hold the two governments responsible for letting the journalists’ killings go unabated.”

Nasrullah Gadani

Gadani, who works for Awami Awaz newspaper, was sprayed with bullets by armed motorcyclists 12 kilometres from Mirpur Mathelo town in Ghotki district.

The journalist received bullets in abdomen and lungs and local doctors advised immediate airlift to Karachi for life-saving treatment. The journalist was admitted to intensive care unit of a hospital where his condition is stated critical.

“He was attacked for his critical questions he asks at press conferences,” Jabbar Khattak, editor of Awami Awaz told Freedom Network via phone from Karachi. “He was targeted for his journalism work.”

Nasrullah was airlifted in air ambulance to Karachi to save his life after his abdomen and lungs were damaged in bullets he received when armed motorcyclists target-killed him.

A video posted on Facebook shows an ambulance bringing the critically wounded journalist to Sheikh Zayed Medical College Hospital in Karachi after he was airlifted in air ambulance of Edhi Foundation.

Nasrullah was known for his strong questions he used to put during press conferences and shared his reports and comments on his social media accounts regularly.

In his Facebook page “intro,” he says: “When speaking the truth becomes a habit then it is necessary to carry coffin with you.” This intro symbolises his critical views he holds.

A video of him is viral on social media showing him riding a motorcycle along a convoy of a landlord escorted by police. He is speaking in Sindhi language and he is heard saying in Sindhi that a landlord is escorted by police.

It is not clear if this video prompted the attack on him but most followers of the journalist believe the video was the “motive for the attack.” No independent confirmation is available.

A Freedom Network’s report on Sindh to be released on 6 June 2024 in Karachi says journalists working with the Sindhi-language newspaper were more targeted because of the strong following Sindh-language media in the province.

Kamran Dawar

Kamran Dawar, in 30s, was killed on 21 May 2024 by unidentified gunmen in Tappi village in Miranshah tehsil, district police officer Rukhan Zeb Khan told Freedom Network via phone from Miranshah, headquarters of North Waziristan.

“It was target-killing,” the police official said, adding the family did not nominate anyone directly for the murder of late Kamran Dawar. “Yes, First Information Report is registered and police has begun investigation.”

The deceased journalist left two daughters and a widow to mourn his killing.

“He was very active digital journalist highlighting social issues his peoples and area were facing,” Rasool said. He is the fourth journalist killed in North Waziristan since Pakistani Taliban-linked militancy visited the area after 9/11 terrorist attacks in the United States.

North Waziristan borders Afghanistan’s Khost province. 

The area where he was killed is hotbed of militancy and there have been target-killings in the recent past including politicians and election candidate.

The journalist community condemned the journalist’s murder and demanded investigation to hold perpetrators of crime to justice. A statement issued by Miranshah Press Club said that he shared his “safety concerns” with the press club although he was not member. However, he applied for the membership which was pending.

Kamran ran Facebook and YouTube channel to report social issues North Waziristan.

No group has claimed responsibility for his murder. Pakistani security forces are regularly coming under attacks from the militants linked to Pakistani Taliban and Islamabad is blaming Kabul for “sheltering” these militants. Afghanistan denies the allegation.

A Freedom Network’s report to be released next month takes a closer look at working conditions journalists are facing after the tribal areas were merged with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to mainstream local population and keep them away from the influence of local militants.

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