QUETTA: While intensifying the protest movement, journalists have announced they will close Quetta Press Club on Monday to mourn the killing of three colleagues.
Gunmen barged into the office of Online News Agency and killed its Bureau Chief Irshad Mastoi, reporter Abdul Rasool and accountant Muhammad Younas on August 28th in Kabir Building area of Jinnah Road Quetta.
"We will close QPC from 9 am to 6 pm as sign of protest," Irfan Saeed, the President Balochistan Union of Journalists (BUJ) announced while addressing a protest rally on Sunday.
Members of BUJ and QPC marched on Qandahari Bazar, Bacha Khan Chowk and other roads of Quetta to mourn the murder of the three colleagues.
They chanted slogans against attacks on the media and demanded that the government ensure security of journalists in Quetta and other troubled parts of Balochistan.
Irfan Saeed also said that Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) has also assured the closure of press clubs across the country on Monday as sign of solidarity with journalists of Balochistan.
The protesting journalists including reporters, cameramen, photographers and editors were carrying placards inscribed with slogans i.e. "stop killing journalists, they are your voice", "long live freedom of expression", "no to dictation" etc during the protest rally.
"We will not bow down before anyone and continue our impartial reporting," Saleem Shahid, the office bearer of PFUJ told the protesting journalists.
"Protests will continue until killers are arrested and a judicial commission probing the journalists’ murder is formed," Shehzada Zulfiqar, a senior journalist said.
Balochistan is considered to be one of the most sensitive areas for journalists. According to BUJ, during the last seven years, more than 30 journalists have been killed in different incidents with the killers still at large.
The Balochistan government had announced the formation of a judicial commission six months back, but the judge probing the murder of journalists is yet to be nominated.
This is the first time in the history of the Quetta media that journalists have announced the closure of the press club.
"Out of frustration we are closing the press club," lamented Irfan Saeed while narrating threats and intimidation to journalists in the city.