Journalist Husnain Shah shot dead outside Lahore Press Club

Published January 25, 2022
People gather outside the Lahore Press Club where a journalist was shot dead by unidentified assailants on Monday. — Photo courtesy: Zalmayzia/Twitter
People gather outside the Lahore Press Club where a journalist was shot dead by unidentified assailants on Monday. — Photo courtesy: Zalmayzia/Twitter

LAHORE: A journalist associated with a local TV channel was gunned down by two armed motorcyclists outside the Lahore Press Club (LPC) here on Monday.

Identified as Husnain Shah, the 40-year-old was working as a crime reporter with Capital TV and was also a council member of the press club.

According to CCTV footage, witnesses and police officials, Shah was on his way in a car when he was attacked by two armed men as he reached outside the press club.

The assailants, who had been chasing him on a motorbike, fired 10 shots at him, killing him on the spot. Mobile phone and CCTV camera footage also showed the two suspects fleeing on a motorcycle after the murder.

Several journalists present inside the press club rushed to the spot, found Shah’s bullet-riddled body and immediately alerted the police and Rescue 1122.

HRCP, journalist bodies condemn killing

The cold-blood murder of the journalist in broad daylight was widely condemned by the media community and human rights associations, who expressed anguish at the alleged targeting of a media professional near the press club.

Read more: Resolution in Punjab Assembly calls out attacks on journalists

The police launched investigations into the killing and intensified patrolling in areas nearby to trace the assailants. However, the motive behind the killing was not stated.

Reacting to the attack, the Lahore Press Club governing body called an emergency meeting, shut down the club premises for all kinds of activities till the burial of the journalist and hoisted a black flag in mourning.

Lahore Capital City Police Officer Fiaz Ahmed Dev said police teams had been constituted to investigate the case and trace the criminals.

A superintendent of police (SP) had been tasked with gaining access to CCTV footage from the safe city authority, while another SP was directed to personally investigate the case by visiting the crime scene.

“We are treating the murder of the journalist as a priority and will arrest the killers as soon as possible,” Mr Dev said, adding the police department would ensure provision of timely justice to the grieved family as well as the journalist community.

A police official said 10 bullet shells fired at the journalist were seized from the crime scene and sent for forensic analysis. His body was shifted to the morgue for autopsy.

DIG Operations Dr Abid said a first information report into the murder was being filed at the time of filing of this report.

In a statement issued in the evening, LPC president Azam Chaudhry said the broad daylight murder of a council member was a barbaric act and unacceptable to the journalist community.

The incident was evidence of the failure of police and other law enforcement agencies in providing protection to journalists and other citizens in Lahore, he said, announcing a deadline of 24 hours for the police to arrest the killers of Shah.

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) also condemned the journalist’s murder.

It called it yet another testament to the failing law and order situation and the increased vulnerability of journalists. “We demand an immediate inquiry into the incident and stand in solidarity with the media community,” the commission said.

Moreover, the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) announced a countrywide protest against Shah’s murder.

In a joint statement, union president Shahzada Zulfiqar and secretary-general Nasir Zaidi demanded immediate arrest of the murderer, remarking that the Punjab government and the police had miserably failed to protect the lives of journalists and media workers.

“It is callous and inhuman and we demand immediate action instead of just assurances,” they stressed.

The PFUJ called upon the journalist community to arrange protest rallies across the country on Tuesday (today) to express resentment at the murder of Shah and solidarity with his family.

The Bahawalpur Union of Journalists also condemned the murder of the journalist and demanded the Punjab government arrest the culprits.

Published in Dawn, January 25th, 2022

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