UNESCO chief urges investigation into murder of Pakistani reporters

UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova. Photo: UNESCO/Ania Freindorf

19 October 2012 – The head of the United Nations agency tasked with defending press freedom today called on Pakistani authorities to investigate the killing of two journalists and bring the perpetrators to justice.

“I condemn the murder of Adbul Kahliq and Mushtaq Khand,” said the Director-General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Irina Bokova. “I am deeply concerned about attacks on journalists and media workers in Pakistan and call on the authorities to bring those responsible for these crimes to justice.”

On 29 September, Abdul Khaliq, also known as Abdul Haq Baluch, was shot by unidentified gunmen in Khuzdar, in the south-western province of Balochistan, according to UNESCO. Mr. Khaliq had worked as a reporter for ARY News TV and two newspapers, the Daily Awan and Tawar.

A reporter for the privately-owned Dharti TV, Mushtaq Khand, was killed when gunmen opened fire on a public meeting in Khairpur, in the south-eastern province of Sindh, on 7 October. Several other people were killed and injured in the attack, UNESCO added in a news release.

“I wish a full and speedy recovery to those injured in the attack that cost Mr. Khand his life,” said Ms. Bokova, noting that it is essential that the basic human right of freedom of expression be respected, and that journalists are allowed to carry out their work without having to fear for their lives.

According to UNESCO, eight journalists have been killed in Pakistan this year.

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