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Thursday June 13, 2024

Protesters demand arrest of killers of Gadani, other journalists

By Our Correspondent
May 27, 2024
Protesters demonstrate against the killing of journalist Nasrullah Gadani at Karachi press club on May 24, 2024. — PPI
 Protesters demonstrate against the killing of journalist Nasrullah Gadani at Karachi press club on May 24, 2024. — PPI

The National Trade Union Federation (NTUF), the Home-Based Women Workers Federation (HBWWF), and other social, political and human rights organisations held a joint protest in front of the Karachi Press Club on Sunday to condemn journalist Nasrullah Gadani’s killing, and “the atrocities committed by tribal chiefs and feudal lords”.

HBWWF General Secretary Zehra Khan said on the occasion that voices of journalists, intellectuals and political activists are being silenced through violent methods. “In these unconstitutional, illegal and anti-democratic acts, state institutions are also involved, along with powerful societal elements such as landlords and tribal chiefs.”

Zehra said that the criminal act of coercion against residents continues unabated. Recent examples include poet Ahmed Farhad, who was “forcibly disappeared” in Islamabad, and Gadani, who was killed by “Sardars” in Mirpur Mathelo, she added.

She claimed that such incidents prove that the state and the upper classes have conspired against the people, and are free from the grip of the law. “Democracy and progressive values will only be promoted with the end of this unholy nexus.”

A few days before Gadani’s murder, armed guards of the son of a tribal chief of Mirpur Mathelo had repeatedly fired at the journalist. A few days later the journalist was seriously wounded by unidentified assailants in the same area. He died during treatment at a hospital in Karachi.

The protest’s organisers said that it is being claimed that the influential perpetrators involved in the murder of the journalist had the full support of those sitting in the government. Awami Haqooq’s Comrade Khaliq Zadran said that the fault of the journalist was that he was known for his bold reporting against “the crimes of landlords, tribal chiefs and anti-people elements”.

Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum General Secretary Saeed Baloch said the journalist’s killing was not an isolated incident but a continuation of the incidents in which journalist Jan Muhammad Maher and socio-environmental activist Nazim Jokhio were targeted last year.

“If the powerful elements involved in these heinous crimes had been brought to justice, such tragic events could have been avoided from happening,” he added. Comrade Wahid Baloch said that despite the passing of the Sindh Protection of Journalists and Other Media Practitioners Act, 2021, journalists and media workers have been losing their jobs as well as their lives, for which the government is directly responsible.

The protesters demanded that the killers of Gadani and other journalists, and political and social activists be arrested, and the lives of journalists and media workers be protected by ensuring the implementation of the protection of journalists law.

They demanded that the support of the “tribal leader” involved in the murder of Gadani be abandoned, and the process of giving shelter to such hostile and anti-democratic elements in political parties be stopped.

They also demanded that all the missing citizens, including Farhad, be recovered, and those involved in this heinous act be punished, while all media workers be registered with social security and pension institutions.

The protesters demanded that the Sindh government allocate funds to support Gadani’s family members, especially children. They demanded that feudalism be abolished, and agricultural land be distributed for free to landless peasants under agricultural reforms so that democracy can be strengthened and social justice can be achieved.

Others who spoke on the occasion included the NTUF’s Nasir Mansoor, the HBWWF’s Saira Feroze Khoro, Shehri Awami Mahaz’s Aqib Hussain, the Textile Garments General Workers Union’s Iqbal Abro, Sara Khan Advocate, Ahsan Mehmood Advocate, Nooruddin Advocate, Alternate’s Shehzad Mughal, and Himmat Ali Phulpoto.