Pakistan is one of the world’s deadliest countries for journalists, with three to four murders each year that are often linked to corruption or illegal trafficking and go completely unpunished, according to a Paris-based media watchdog. Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has cautioned the Pakistan army’s high command against harassment of the media.
Any journalist who crosses the red lines dictated by Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) is liable to be the target of in-depth surveillance that could lead to abduction and detention for varying lengths of time in the state’s prisons or less official jails. The Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Pakistan’s leading military intelligence agency, is prepared to silence any criticism, according to RSF.
The recent killing of Pakistani journalist Arshad Sharif has once again raised the question of the safety of Pakistani scribes in both Pakistan and abroad. With each passing day, the case of Arshad Sharif’s killing is getting murkier with the unearthing of new details that is deepening the mystery.
“The fatal shot that killed #arshad Sharif was fired with precision through the rear mirror of the car, penetrated through the back of his head and exited through the front side,” Kenyan investigative journalist Brian Obuya said tweeted. He said the vehicle Sharif was travelling in was shot at nine times in total, with four bullets fired to the left and one deflating the right side tyre, the Dawn newspaper reported
Calling out the current government on the issue of the safety of scribes, former Pakistan prime minister and PTI chief Imran Khan said Pakistan journalists are leaving the country. “Moeed Pirzada, Irshad Bhatti have gone abroad […] earlier, Sabir Shakir left the same way. Arshad Sharif shaheed, who was standing on the path of justice, got threats […] he was silenced, removed from the channel and then martyred,” he was quoted as saying by The Nation in Sadhoke.