QUETTA - Unidentified armed assailants gunned down a senior journalist in Kalat town, some 160 kilometres southeast of Quetta, on Friday.
Kalat Police Station official Lal Muhammad said that Mehmood Afridi was sitting inside a PCO shop at main bus station in Kalat town when assailants appeared there and sprayed bullets on him.
“The attackers, who were on a motorbike, swiftly fled after firing,” police said quoting eyewitnesses. The journalist sustained multiple bullets wounds and died before reaching the hospital. The body was taken to district headquarters hospital Kalat for autopsy. Police were yet to determine the motive of murder.
Mehmood Afridi was also affiliated with a local Urdu Daily Intekhab and with a private news channel. He left behind two sons and a widow. “Mr Afridi did not mention of any threat,” Anwar Naseem, Press Club General Secretary Ahmed Yar Khan told this scribe on phone.
Balochistan Union of Journalists (BUJ) in a statement strongly condemned the murder and demanded immediate arrest of culprits. Announcing a three-day-mourning, BUJ said that Mehmood Khan Afridi was discharging his professional duty in Kalat district for the last 12 years with sincerity and he highlighted the issues of the people and the area. BUJ also announced holding of protest demonstration in Quetta on Saturday (today).
“The murder of Mehmood in broad daylight is a slap on the face of provincial and federal administration,” the statement said, adding that so far 30 journalists have been targeted killed in Balochistan. BUJ said that the relatives of journalists were also being targeted and so far no case had been registered against any perpetrator in the murder of journalists that had further emboldened them to commit crime against journalists.
Earlier this week, Malik Mumtaz was brutally gunned down by unidentified people, on February 27, while he was on his way home to Miranshah from Chashma. Last year, many targeted attacks took place on journalists in Balochistan.
General secretary of Khuzdar Press Club Abdul Haq was gunned down on September 29, near Khuzdar Post Office in main Khuzdar city.
On October 25, unidentified armed men opened indiscriminate fire on the sons of Nadeem Gurgnari, killing Siraj Nadeem on the spot while the younger one Manzoor later on succumbed to injuries in the hospital.
The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has described Balochistan as the ‘epicentre of violence’ against journalists within Pakistan.
3 SHOT DEAD IN DAHDAR
Three people were shot dead in tehsil Dahdar of Kachi district on Friday.
Unidentified armed men riding a motorbike opened indiscriminate fire on a group of people within the limits of Dahdar police precincts. Resultantly, three people died immediately.
After receiving the information, the police rushed to the site and shifted the bodies to a local hospital for autopsy where they were identified as Feroz Khan Jatoi, Rahim Bakhsh Jatoi and Bebarg Khan.
Police citing old enmity behind the murder of three persons said investigation was under way and they were trying to hunt down the perpetrators.