KARACHI: The Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN) has recognised eight of the ‘best investigative stories’ from Pakistan in 2023, with two Dawn reports making it to the list.

GIJN — an international organisation working to increase the capacity of investigative journalists — called 2023 “an eventful reporting year” with local journalists “continuing to push boundaries where they can”.

The list featured eight stories from local and foreign publications, including one video report investigating Pakistan’s reported arms sales to Ukraine.

The investigation by Soch analysed the State Bank of Pakistan’s trade data and contracts for the purchase of 155mm artillery rounds to conclude that arms exported from Pakistan were “sold to the US Department of Defense” and “sent to Ukraine”.

Dawn’s stories featured in the list were ‘Private jails in Balochistan’s fiefdoms’ by Muhammad Akbar Notezai and ‘Selling liquid gold — Karachi’s tanker mafia’ by Naziha Syed Ali and Aslam Shah.

The former investigated private jails of influential tribal leaders in Balochistan. The issue came into the spotlight earlier this year when the bodies of a woman and two young men were recovered from a well near the residence of the then-provincial minister Sardar Abdul Rehman Khetran. It was alleged that the three had been locked up in the sardar’s private jail in Barkhan district.

The second story explored the water theft in Karachi and the connivance of political leaders, military personnel, law enforcement agencies and the water board in profiting from the city’s water woes.

The list also featured The Intercept’s story, which had made public the text of a secret cipher which former prime minister Imran Khan claimed was “a key cog” in the scheme to orchestrate his ouster in 2022.

Among other stories in the list were Fact Focus’ investigative report on retired Lt Gen Shafaatullah Shah’s overseas properties and misdeclaration of assets; Lok Sujag’s story on the dire straits of a rural health care centre in Rajanpur; The Citizenry‘s investigation report into Sindh government’s poor utilisation of climate budget and Profit by Pakistan Today’s report evaluating the criticism surrounding Temporary Economic Relief Facility (Terf) — a low-interest loan facility extended to business during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Published in Dawn, December 11th, 2023

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