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January 19, 2012

HRCP concerned at journalist’s killing

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January 19, 2012

THE Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has condemned the assassination of journalist Mukarram Khan Atif by armed men in Charsadda and expressed concern that journalists’ killings continue across the country in spite of assurances by the authorities.
A statement issued by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan on Wednesday said that it was exceedingly unfortunate that despite repeated assurances by the government to protect journalists, Mukarram Khan Atif, a senior journalist working for the electronic media was killed in Shabqadar, Charsaddah, in a blatant attack on Tuesday. The Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan’s acceptance of responsibility for the ghastly deed and its admission that the victim was targeted for his professional work underlined the perils journalists were increasingly being exposed to.
The statement said, “Pakistan is a perilous place for journalists is old news, since we have been labeled the most dangerous country in the world for a few years running now. At least 17 journalists and media workers were killed in Pakistan in 2011 alone.”
All indications suggest that this year too would be a bad year for Pakistani journalists. The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan believed that despite the interior minister’s advice to journalists last year that they should arm themselves for their safety, the journalists and civil society still expected that the authorities would show more resolve in protecting journalists and tracking down their killers rather than washing their hands of key obligations.
The HRCP statement asserted that the government must realise that if it had tried anything to ensure protection for journalists that clearly had not worked. It is not entirely unreasonable for the journalists to question the government’s commitment to protect them in view of its failure to bring to justice the killers of even one of the many journalists killed during its tenure.
The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan implores the

government and also media organisations to respond with effective steps rather than mere rhetoric, and compensation for the slain journalists’ families. It must act before the next journalist is targeted, the statement said.

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