Wednesday November 29, 2023

Journalist shot dead outside Lahore Press Club

January 25, 2022

LAHORE: Senior crime reporter of Capital TV Hasnain Shah was shot dead by unidentified men in broad day light in front of the Lahore Press Club, Simla Pahari Chowk, and Monday.

The shooters opened straight fire on him and seven bullets hit him in the chest that resulted into his instant death.Police have removed the body to the morgue, collected evidence and CCTV footages of nearby cameras.

Motive behind the killing could not be known till the filing of this report. According to eyewitnesses, Hasnain Shah was driving his car from his office on Davis Road towards Garhi Shahu. He had just reached the traffic signal outside the press club when two shooters on a bike approached him from the driving side and opened indiscriminate fire. He got seven bullets in his chest and died on the spot.

Hasnain was a senior crime reporter at Capital TV channel and a council member of Lahore Press Club. A number of journalists sitting inside the press club rushed to the site on hearing a volley of bullets and found Husnain in the car. They called out police and Rescue 1122. The teams rushed to the spot. The rescuers checked his pulse but he was gone. Former LPC president Arshad Ansari and Bureau Chief of the Capital TV Shadab Riaz were the first one who rushed to the spot soon after hearing the gunshots. Arshad tried to rescue Hasnain from the car but he breathed his last. Journalists and heavy contingent of police rush to the spot. DIG Investigations Shahzada Sultan, CTO Muntazir Mehdi, SSP Investigations and others visited the crime scene and supervised collection of forensic evidence. The incident was condemned by journalist organisations across the country.

Newly-elected Lahore Press Club President Azam Chaudhry said that it was a black day in the history of Lahore, as a journalist had been shot dead in front of the club and no one could do anything. He urged the government to make Hasnain Shah murder a test case and include it in high profile cases to trace the suspects at the earliest. Pakistan Federal Union of Journalist (PFJU) President Shehzada Zulfiqar, Secretary-General Nasir Zaidi and Treasurer Zulfiqar Ali Mahto also condemned the incident. They said the provincial government had failed to maintain law and order in the city.

According to the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), three journalists had been killed in Pakistan in 2021. It said that 45 journalists had been killed worldwide in the same year. The toll included nine in Afghanistan, the highest number suffered by a single country. Elsewhere, eight died in Mexico, four in India and three in Pakistan. The IFJ said the media workers "more often than not are killed for exposing corruption, crime and abuse of power in their communities, cities and countries". IFJ Secretary-General Anthony Bellanger emphasised his organisation's support for a UN convention for the protection of journalists to "ensure accountability for journalists’ killings". The IFJ's figures differed slightly from those given by RSF, which counted seven journalists killed in Mexico, six in Afghanistan, and four each in Yemen and India. The Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors (CPNE) has also condemned the murder of Hasnain Shah. It said the killing of a journalist outside the press club in the day put a question mark over performance of police and law enforcement agencies. It demanded the killers of the journalist be arrested immediately.Punjab IG Rao Sardar Ali Khan has taken notice of the incident and directed the CCPO to submit a report. He expressed his grief over the death of Crime Reporter Hasnain Shah. Meanwhile, funeral prayers for the slain journalist will be held outside the Lahore Press Club at 1.30pm Tuesday (today).