PEC demands fair probe into murder of another Pakistani digital media user

Geneva: Press Emblem Campaign (PEC), the global media safety and rights body, expresses serious concern over the relentless murder of scribes, citizen journalists and digital media users in Pakistan for exposing anomalies in the government, administration, and society through various media outlets and demands fair probes into all those assassinations.

Local media outlets reported that one more active Pakistani social media user named Muhammad Zada was killed by two gunmen on 8 November 2021 at his residence in Sakhakot area of Malakand locality under Pakistan’s northwest Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. Zada (35) ran a digital platform titled Citizen Journalist PK, where he used to post socially relevant issues relating to his home district of Malakand.

The outspoken social activist always took his stand against the illegal drug mafia and expressed his concern about the new generation, who are seemingly under the grip of such consumption. Zada remained critical against the corrupt politicians, government officials and some local leaders, who were making money from the illegal business with impunity.

As Zada became popular in his locality, he earned enmity from some influential personalities including a few police officers. He claimed that a Malakand district police officer was harassing and threatening him for his activities. Zada was asked to stop putting posts in the social media and otherwise face the consequence. But he was not scared while putting inputs against local criminal groups, who often enjoy support from the administration.

“It is shocking that Pakistan loses one more socially responsible media activist after the murder of Nazim Samwal Jokhio, a videographer in western Sindh province, on 4 November. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chief minister Mahmood Khan must take the brutal murder of Muhammad Zada seriously and assure that the culprits will not enjoy the impunity,” said Blaise Lempen, secretary-general of PEC (https://pressemblem.ch/pec-news.shtml).

Nazim Jokhio, a local journalist, was allegedly tortured to death at the farmhouse of accused PPP MPA for trying to prevent his foreign guests from illegal hunting of endangered houbara bustard. An autopsy found severe torture marks and bruises all over the body of the deceased. MPA Sindh Assembly Jam Owais has been remanded to police custody. Nazim Jokhio was tortured to death for recording the MPA’s hunting expedition of the highly rare bird species along with Arab hunters.

The troubled south Asian nation earlier lost five professional journalists namely Ajay Laalwani (18 March, Sindh), Waseem Alam (10 April, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa), Abdul Wahid Raisani (24 April, Balochistan), Kashif Hussain (10 August, Punjab) and Shahid Zehri (10 October, Balochistan) to assailants since 1 January 2021, revealed PEC’s south Asia representative Nava Thakuria adding that India and Bangladesh have witnessed the murder of five and two scribes respectively this year till date.

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