QUETTA: Speakers at a condolence reference here on Sunday paid homage to two journalists and an accountant of a news agency murdered in an attack on their office and said journalists working in Balochistan would never surrender to violence.

The reference was held by the Quetta Press Club for Online news agency’s bureau chief Irshad Mastoi, reporter Abdul Rasool and accountant Mohammad Younus, who were shot dead in their office in the city on Aug 28. Rezaur Rehman, the president of the club, presided over the meeting and speakers included senior journalist Saleem Shahid and Irfan Saeed.

They condemned police failure to arrest the killers and said journalists would continue their struggle till the killers were caught and media personnel provided protection.

They said Irshad Mastoi was an outspoken and brave journalist who wrote on problems faced by people and added that he had been killed for his bold views.

They criticised the federal and Balochistan governments for their `lack of interest’ in investigation into the triple murder case.

Journalists had been staging rallies and observing token hunger strike for the past three weeks but the government was yet to take notice of their protest, they deplored.

The speakers said that although 40 journalists had been killed in Balochistan over the past few years, neither the killers had been identified nor the motive for the killing established.

“If telling the truth is our fault or crime, we want to make it clear that we will never abandon this practice come what may,” they said.

They criticised political parties for their failure to come up with a strong reaction to the killing of media workers and said only issuance of condemnation statements was not enough.

Published in Dawn, September 29th , 2014