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PFUJ slams ATA cases against journalists by Sindh Police

By News Desk
March 21, 2021

KARACHI: The Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) has expressed serious concern over registration of cases under the Anti-Terrorism Act against journalists, protesting against the alleged extrajudicial killing of a varsity student, Irfan Jatoi, and condemned the murder of private new channel’s journalist, Ajay Laalwani, both of which happened in Sukkur.

The PFUJ termed the registration of Anti-Terrorism Act cases against journalists, writers and political workers protesting against the alleged extrajudicial killing of Irfan Jatoi in jurisdiction of Sukkur's SITE Area Police Station, as unprecedented and uncalled for. They also described it as the failure of the elected government to provide protection to the civil society especially journalists. The PFUJ President, Shehzada Zulfiqar and Secretary General Nasir Zaidi in a statement said that the Pakistan Peoples Party government which claims to be people friendly has registered cases against protesting members of the civil society demanding the arrest of killers of an innocent student of the Sindh University. It demanded the Sindh government and the PPP central leadership to look into the situation and direct the IG Sindh to immediately withdraw cases against journalists, writers and political workers and hold impartial inquiry into the student’s murder.

Meanwhile, the PFUJ also strongly condemned the brutal murder of Sukkur based journalist Ajay Laalwani who was shot dead in Sukkur earlier this week. The President PFUJ, Shahzada Zulfiqar, and Secretary, General Nasir Zaidi, while condemning the murder said that brutalities, high handedness and harassment against the journalist community is on a sharp rise in all the provinces, but Sindh where the PPP is ruling since 2008, has failed to take action against crimes against journalists, which is unfortunate and unprecedented. They demanded immediate arrest of the killers of the innocent journalists and demanded stringent security for journalists and media workers in Sindh and other provinces, as it is responsibility of federal and provincial governments to safeguard their lives.

In a related development, the New York city-based-Committee to Protect Journalists condemned Lalwani’s murder and demanded the culprits to be brought to justice. “Police in Sindh province must waste no time in investigating the Lalwani’s killing and apprehending those responsible,” said Steven Butler, CPJ’s Asia program coordinator. “It’s critical that the investigation be led by officers who are able to maintain public confidence, given the long history of tensions between local journalists and the police in Sukkur.” The CPJ considers Pakistan as a deadly country for journalists. In 2020, Pakistan ranked ninth on CPJ’s annual Global Impunity Index with 15 unsolved murders.