Balochistan reporter gunned down for covering corruption

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) calls for a thorough and independent investigation into last week’s murder of a newspaper reporter who covered local corruption in Balochistan province, in southwestern Pakistan.

A reporter for the Naveed-e-Pakistan daily newspaper, Anwar Jan Kethran was shot dead by two gunmen as he was returning home on the evening of 23 July in Barkhan, a city in the northeast of the province.

His family was told to “stay quiet” or face “consequences” but they have accused the provincial government’s food and population minister, Abdur Rehman Kethran, of ordering his murder.  Because of his coverage of corruption, the minister had told him to “stay away from journalism,” they say.

After a great deal of difficulty in getting the police to register a complaint naming the minister, the family finally managed to file a complaint with the Balochistan paramilitary forces accusing the minister’s bodyguards.

“Everything indicates that Anwar Jan Kethran was killed because he informed the public about allegedly corrupt practices by local officials,” said Daniel Bastard, the head of RSF’s Asia-Pacific desk. “We therefore urge Balochistan first minister Jam Kamal Khan to conduct an independent investigation into this murder so that both perpetrators and instigators can be quickly brought to justice.”

Kethran’s murder came two days after Matiullah Jan, a journalist who is very critical of the military on his YouTube channel MJtv, was abducted in broad daylight in Islamabad, the Pakistani capital, just days before he was due to appear before the supreme court on a contempt charge in connection with a tweet.

Jan was handcuffed, hooded and tortured before being released 12 hours later. Inter-Services Intelligence, Pakistan leading military intelligence agency, is widely suspected of orchestrating his abduction.

Pakistan is ranked 145th out of 180 countries and territories in RSF’s 2020 World Press Freedom Index.

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Updated on 30.07.2020