Association of Pakistani Lawyers a team of Pakistani origin lawyers, Solicitors, Barristers, Judges in UK jointly condemn the killing of a journalist Wali Babar khan who was a reporter for GEO TV network in Karachi and was shot dead in an ambush outside the police station in Karachi on 13 January 2011. Our thoughts are with those who lost their loved one and APL demands justice with the Wali Babar khan as well as many others who either lost their lives during their call of duty, or their livelihood due to atmosphere of harassment and intimidation requiring them to operate self censorship.
APL has taken serious note of series of recent killings in particular murder of Raja Asad Hameed of Nation and Nawa e Waqt who was shot dead in an ambush outside his home town Rawalpindi on 26 March and Dawn News Correspondent Tariq Malik in March 2009 when he was reporting the rising crimes in Punjab . Earlier on January 24, 2009, a journalist Aamir Wakil, 41, who worked for a private regional television channel was shot dead by unidentified gunmen near his house in, Rawalpindi, and failure to investigate the murder of GEO Swat correspondent Mussa Khankhel, who was killed after been abducted from a procession led by Maulvi Sufi Mohammad, and this latest killing of Wali Babar Khan in the line of his duty diverts the attention towards a sustained pattern of unlawful killings that reflects the failure of government as it is responsible for failure to apprehend culprits. APL has also noted the PFUJ report ‘journalists killed from 1999-2008’ which detailed 34 murders in 9 years and noticed the inaction on it and has expressed deepest sorrow over the sorry state of affairs when it comes to media freedom & protection.
APL endorses and encourages freedom of expression, tolerance as enshrined in Pakistan’s 1973 Constitution and considers the right of people of free speech as inalienable. We had supported all journalists when they were under threat post 9th March 2007 and in particular after imposition of emergency post 3rd November 2007, and we reiterate our stand and uphold our tradition and values of supporting a free press and electronic media in Pakistan today.
APL confirmed that they will raise the issue of protection of journalist s with US, UK and PAK Govt through High Commissioner and in particular Commonwealth press union (CPU), journalist committee in UK (PJA), local press clubs, National Union of Journalist (NUJ) to foster relations between both societies for better understanding of their rights as ‘professionals’ and their responsibilities under the circumstances.
APL demand the Govt of Pakistan for a fair treatment and protection of journalists belonging to print or electronic media as this is not the first incident and demand that the culprits behind these threats, harassment, assassinations, and targeted killings are brought to justice in a limited time frame, and families are compensated befittingly.