Two Journalists Shot & Killed In Sindh & North Waziristan

FN Threat Data Analysis Report – May 2024

Sindhi journalist Nasrullah Gadani and North Waziristan’s digital journalist Kamran Dawar were killed while 10 other cases of different threat categories, including attempt to murder, two detentions, one kidnapping, online harassment of a woman journalist, were monitored and documented during May 2024.

These threat cases against journalists are monitored through Pakistan Press Club Safety Hubs Network programme, award-winning civil liberty organisation Freedom Network is managing since 2016.

Freedom Network runs five safety hubs across Pakistan to monitor and document violations against media practitioners and assist journalists at risks in partnership with five biggest press clubs of the country, including Karachi, Lahore, Quetta, Islamabad and Peshawar. 

Murder (Successful Assassination Attempt):

Unidentified assailants riding a motorbike targeted journalist Nasrullah Gadani, reporter with Sindhi-language Awami Awaz newspaper around 11am on Tuesday – 21 May 2024- as he was commuting from his village, Qabool Khan Gadani, to Mirpur Mathelo press club. Witnesses, including local journalists, reported that armed individuals in a car fired at Gadani on Jarwar Road near Deen Shah before fleeing the scene.

Gadani sustained multiple gunshot wounds, with hospital sources indicating three wounds to his chest and abdomen, resulting in critical condition. Initially admitted to Mirpur Mathelo district Hospital, he was later transferred to Shaikh Zayid hospital Rahim Yar Khan for further medical care.

The journalist could not survive and died in hospital early morning of May 24 in Karachi where he was airlifted in Edhi Air Ambulance. The deceased journalists left behind a widow and four small children to mourn his death. His murder comes after the journalist was asking critical questions. 

Citizen journalist Kamran Dawar, in his 30s, was shot dead by unknown gunmen outside his house in Tappi village in Miranshah tehsil of North Waziristan on 21 May 2014. The motive behind the killing of Kamran Dawar is believed highlighting social issues of his people on his social media accounts such as Facebook and YouTube. He reported “threatening calls” he received to Miranshah Press Club, confirmed by the press club general secretary while talking to Freedom Network. The citizen journalist applied for the press club membership but his application was pending on ground that he was not meeting membership criteria which includes that the applicant must be working for a newspaper or television channel. This did not help the citizen journalist get the membership and the press club did not voice support for his “SOS” messages. Local police registered an FIR against unknown killers and started an investigation. The deceased journalists left behind a widow and two small daughters to mourn his death.

In both murder cases of the two journalists no arrests have been made yet. 

Digital threats (harassment, trolling, abuse, defamation/disinformation, hate speech, etc.)

Dawn News channel’s anchor Absa Komal received online threats after speaking out against the attack on the Christian community in Sargodha on 30 May 2024. Komal used her social media account to expose the exploitation of Christian community and condemned the role of a religious group. Her stance led to a series of threats from the members of the religious group. 

Freedom Network expressed its support for the anchor and offered assistance to stay safe. 

Attempt to murder (survived assassination attempt):

Times News reporter Haider Mastoi and his cameraperson Khan Muhmmad Pitafi were attacked on 30 May 2024 by three armed motorcyclists while they were on their way to home. The incident took place at Baberlow station near Sukkur in Sindh province where unidentified assailants opened fire on them. Mastoi got five bullets in different parts of his body. He was rushed to a hospital in a critical condition. Initial investigation suggested it was a target attack. Haider was shifted to Liaquat National Hospital for further treatment where his condition is stable now.  


Hafiz Maaz Bin Khalid, digital media coordinator for ARY TV Network, was abducted on 28 May 2024 from his home in Buffer Zone, Karachi. Men in plain clothes and uniformed police picked Maaz up and took him to an undisclosed location. Khalil Ur Rehman, the journalist’s father, told Freedom Network that “they (plain clothes men and police) arrived in three mobile vans and a double cabin, climbed over the wall, and took my son with them, claiming they were taking him for investigation by Crime Investigation Agency”. When Khalil’s father approached the CIA center, he was told that Maaz was not brought there and they were unaware of his whereabouts.

His colleagues believe the journalist may have been taken away for his recent social media posts critical of state institutions. The journalist returned home on 30 May 2024 and preferred to stay silent.

Assault without Injury (manhandling)

Three Islamabad and Rawalpindi-based reporters from different TV channels were manhandled by police on 11 May 2024. Geo News reporter Shiraz Gardezi GNN News channel’s reporter Asghar Hayatand Samaa News channel’s reporter Haseeb Chaudhry was assaulted and manhandled while doing professional duty at Azad Kashmir Prime Minister Chaudhry Anwar ul Haq press conference in Islamabad. 

The three reporters were not only barred from covering the event, but they were also physically assaulted by police officers for unknown reasons. The Rawalpindi-Islamabad Union of Journalists (RIUJ) and Freedom Network voiced concern about this incident, condemning the forcible removal of journalists from the Kashmir House. 

Daily Kashmir Crimes reporter Muhammad Waqar Chaudhry was reportedly manhandled by authorities from the Federal Investigation Agency’s (FIA) Cyber Crime Wing in Rawalpindi on 11 May 2024. 

The FIA officials manhandled the journalist when he accompanied a victim of online harassment and her brother to the FIA office. FIA officials were recording the girl’s statement and gathering data related to the threatening messages, Chaudhary went outside to make a phone call to a colleague. The FIA officials asked him to go inside and hand them his phone. On refusal the journalist was made to sign a document and FIA official threatened him with a criminal case if he spoke about the incident. The journalist later filed a complaint against the FIA officials with the DG FIA, but no action has so far been taken. 

GTV News channel reporter Zamzam Saeed was assaulted in Korangi, Karachi, on May 18, 2024 when she went to report cheating in matric exams in Shahnaz Islamic School.  She was tortured by a group of people who were involved in facilitating cheating at the examination centers during ongoing matric exams. Later, Zaman Town Police arrested the attackers including the owner of Shahnaz Islamic School. 

Express News channel’s reporter Saleh Mughal was tortured during a National Accountability Bureau (NAB) raid on Bahria Town’s offices in Rawalpindi on 28 May 2024. Mughal was assigned to cover the NAB raid.  The NAB officers and police blocked roads leading to the Bahria Town Corporate offices and pedestrians were also barred from entering the area. Despite presence of the media, NAB and police officials and other law enforcement authorities kept a substantial distance from the raid’s actions. However, tensions rose abruptly as NAB officials and police surged towards reporters and cameramen, resulting in a chaotic situation.

In this chaos law enforcement arrested Saleh Mughal as he attempted to leave. Mughal and his coworkers were forcibly carried to the Bahria Town office, where their mobile phones were confiscated and data deleted. The police and unidentified masked individuals then subjected Mughal to hours of torture. The unlawful detention and abuse sparked outrage among media organizations, leading to a swift protest. Following the protest, Saleh Mughal was eventually released from custody. The Rawalpindi-Islamabad Union of Journalists (RIUJ), the Islamabad Crime Reporters Association (ICRA), the Supreme Court Reporters Association, and Freedom Network condemned the police’s actions against Mughal.

Detention (based on suspicion/without formal case):

Pakistan Journalists Safety Coalition-Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chapter chairperson and journalist Saif-ul-Islam Saifi, was put in lockup of a local police station while on his way to Peshawar press club to cover daily events on 21 May 2024. The Gulbahar PS SHO stopped and asked him where he was going and where he got his bike from. When he introduced himself as a journalist and stated that he was going to perform his duties at the press club, he was taken to the police station and detained for two hours. Later, he was released after the intervention of Peshawar Press Club management.

Court Injunctions/ Gag Orders:

The Peshawar High Court declared it “illegal” for journalists, TV reporters, Vloggers, YouTubers and Facebook activists from interviewing criminals at police stations and jails to question suspected offenders in police custody. A bench comprising Justice Waqar Ahmad and Justice Fazal Subhan accepted a plea submitted by lawyer Jabir Khan, seeking directions for the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) to immediately prohibit telecast of media interviews with criminal suspects during their investigation.

Attack on Offices/ Premises/ Other Assets:

“Laghari Ittehad Ihtijaj” held a protest demonstration in Chaman town near Pak-Afghan border in Baluchistan. During the protest some protestors attacked the Chaman Press Club and locked the club on 7 May 2024 while some journalists were inside the press club and they were threatened with “death.” Thousands of people have been protesting against the border closure in Chaman border crossing point for the past seven months and staged sit-ins, known locally as Laghari Ittehad Ihtijaj. A hate campaign was launched by the protestors against journalists on social media also for not reporting the protest in mainstream media.

Sindh Commission for Protection of Journalists and Other Media Practitioners Actions:

Sindh Commission responded on Nasrullah Gaddani Murder case and ordered that the head of Senior Investigation team, A DIG police from a division other than Sukkur and other team members outside Sukkur should investigate the case. The commission chairman directed the IGP to keep the CPJMP updated on the progress of the investigation on a daily basis. The meeting also appreciated the performance of Rafiah Bano, the focal person in Ghotki and the deputy director of the information department, who had gathered and sent all the details to the commission after visiting the hospital.

On May 30, Sindh Commission Chairperson ordered IG Police to submit the report of Gaddani murder case and on Haider Mastosi case, and immediate follow-on Hafiz Maaz bin Khalid, digital media coordinator for ARY TV Network who was abducted on May 28. The journalist was recovered after Commission immediate intervention on the case.   

Threats, Attacks, and Harassment against Various Types of Media: 

Three print and nine TV journalist received these threats during May 2024.

Threat Actors Attacking and Harassing Journalists and Media:

Nine state and three others threat actors were believed involved in these threats directed at journalists.

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