Journalists across Pakistan staged protest rallies Tuesday to condemn the killing of a television reporter in insurgency-torn Baluchistan on the Afghan and Iranian border.
Police said Abdul Haq Baluch, 37, who worked for private TV channel ARY, was shot late Saturday while driving home in the town of Khuzdar, 230 kilometres south of the provincial capital Quetta.
Journalists said masked men opened fire on his car around 100 yards from the local press club. Police officer Abdul Qadir Kamrani told AFP that Baluch died of his injuries on his way to the hospital.
Khaliq was not the first ARY reporter to be attacked but in the past three others were targeted from the same channel, one was transferred to Islamabad while another who was injured was treated in Karachi, last year.
“Journalists working in Baluchistan are at the mercy of intelligence agencies or militants,” Rural Media Network Pakistan told Doha Centre for Media Freedom. “If they get away with one, the other get hold of them. Everyday journalists in Baluchistan face threats, not only reporters but also those working on the desk whether in print or TV.”
Police have registered a case against "unidentified gunmen".
According to Committee to Protect Journalists, Pakistan is ranked as the third most dangerous country for journalists.
Baluchistan is one of Pakistan's most deprived areas. Separatist rebels have been fighting since 2004 for autonomy and a greater share of oil, gas and mineral deposits in the southwestern province.
Farooq Faisal, president of the national press club, said journalists were protesting against extremely difficult working conditions in Baluchistan and northwest Pakistan, where a Taliban insurgency is concentrated.
"Armed groups are threatening journalists but the government is taking no step for their protection," Faisal told AFP.
Interior Minister Rehman Mali met journalists in Islamabad and said a judicial commission would investigate the killing, promising a reward of 2.5 million rupees ($26,320) for anyone who helps to identify the killers.
Earlier this year, a government commission failed to find the killers of a journalist who reported that Islamist militants had infiltrated the military shortly before he disappeared in May 2011.
Since 1992, 41 journalists have been killed in the Pakistan and only one case received justice.
Source: DCMF, AFP