ISLAMABAD: Condemning the murder of Sohail Khan, a journalist from Haripur in Hazara of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists’ (PFUJ) Afzal Butt group has announced to observe protest today (Thursday) across the country.

“We strongly condemn the killing of Sohail Khan and call upon the KP government to immediately arrest the culprits,” said a joint statement issued by PFUJ president Afzal Butt and secretary general Ayub Jan Sarhandi.

Mr Khan was a reporter of daily K2 and he was allegedly killed by members of drug mafia for publishing a news story against their activities. “We have been told that Mr Sohail was threatened of dire consequences by the drug mafia and he had reported these threats to the police as well,” the statement said. The PFUJ expressed disappointment that no protection was provided to the journalist even after his complaint.

The PFUJ leaders said that this was the second murder of a journalist in Haripur within a year.

Last year, Bakhsheesh Elahi — a reporter of daily K2 — was murdered in Haripur. People involved in the murder have so far not been arrested. “Failure to arrest the murderers of Bakhsheesh Elahi speaks volumes about the inefficiency of the KPK police,” the statement said.

The PFUJ directed its affiliated unions across the country to hold protests at press clubs or union offices and hoist black flags to condemn the murder of Sohail Khan.

Meanwhile, the Rawalpindi-Islamabad Union of Journalists (RIUJ) also announced to observe a black day on Thursday. Their protest demonstration will be held at 2.30pm at the National Press Club (NPC).

Earlier, Asia Programme coordinator of Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) Steven Butler held a meeting with members of journalists’ union groups.

The delegation was led by PFUJ president Afzal Butt and RIUJ president Mubarak Zeb.

Mr Butler was briefed on issues being faced by media personnel in Pakistan, including threats faced by journalists. He was also informed about financial woes of media workers due to delay in payment of salaries and layoffs.

Published in Dawn, October 18th, 2018

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