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Pakistan 16 April 2009

Two journalists fall victim to Balochistan violence, one dies

Reporters Without Borders is appalled to learn Wasi Ahmed, a newspaper reporter based in Khuzdar, in the southwestern province of Balochistan, died today in a Karachi hospital as a result of the injuries in received in a shooting on 11 April. TV reporter Muhammad Khan Adil was injured in bombing on 10 April in the same province, where tension is high following the murder of three Baloch leaders.

“The abduction and murder of three Baloch leaders and the constant threats against Baloch journalists and human rights activists are unacceptable, but they must not be used as grounds for acts of revenge against the press,” Reporters Without Borders said.

“We urge all parties, above all the Baloch armed groups and the security forces, to show the utmost restrant and not treat the media as targets,” the press freedom organisation added. “There is an urgent need for the government to restore calm in Balochistan. To this end, it must not allow human rights violations to go unpunished.”

The Khuzdar correspondent of the Quetta-based Balochistan Express daily newspaper, Ahmed was shot in the stomach in front of a newsstand on 11 April. The newspaper vendor was also injured in the shooting. It is suspected that the attack was carried out by a Baloch armed separatist group and that Ahmed, who was from Punjab province, was the target.

Adil, a reporter for Dunya TV, was injured by a roadside bomb on 10 April.

This latest violence against journalists in Balochistan comes less than two months after Jan Muhammad Dashti, the owner and editor of the Baloch daily Asaap, was seriously injured in a shooting as he was driving to work in the provincial capital, on 23 February.

A Quetta-based journalist told Reporters Without Borders: “Baloch journalists are targeted by the security forces while journalists from the Punjab are targeted by Baloch separatist groups. We are trapped between the devil and the deep blue sea.”




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