The Balochistan Liberation Army claimed responsibility for Afridi's murder a few hours after his death.
Reporters Without Borders is appalled to learn that Mehmood Ahmed Afridi, a correspondent for the newspaper Intikhab, was gunned down by unidentified men on a motorcycle today in Kalat, in the southwestern province of Balochistan. He was the second journalist to be murdered in Pakistan in the space of three days.
No one has so far claimed responsibility for Afridi’s murder.
“We are deeply shocked that just two days after Malik Mumtaz Khan’s murder, another journalist has been murdered in a similar fashion,” Reporters Without Borders said.
“The Pakistani authorities need to realize the terrible dangers to which journalists are exposed and immediately deploy sufficient resources to provide them with effective protection. Thorough and impartial investigations are also needed to identify and punish those responsible for these killings.”
Reached by telephone, a Balochi journalist based in Quetta told Reporters Without Borders that Afridi, 56, had worked as a journalist since 1995 and was president of the Kalat press club.
“Mehmood Ahmed Afridi was waiting outside a public telephone cabin when two men on a motorcycle arrived and opened fire,” the source said on condition of anonymity. According to doctors who carried out an autopsy, he was shot four times.
Kalat deputy police commissioner Bashir Ahmed told Dawn News TV bureau chief Ali Shah that it was a “targeted killing.”
Condemning the shooting, Balochistan Union of Journalists president Essa Tareen accused the government of hardly bothering to try to identify those who murder journalists, despite repeated appeals from the journalistic community.
“We feel humiliated because we submit requests to the government and the government does so little,” Tareen told Reporters Without Borders.
Balochistan is one of Pakistan’s most dangerous regions for journalists as they are liable to be targeted by both the intelligence agencies and Balochistan’s armed separatist groups.
This week’s other media victim, Malik Mumtaz Khan, was gunned down near his home in Miranshah, the chief town in North Waziristan, in the Tribal Areas of northwestern Pakistan. He worked for Geo TV and the Jang newspaper group.
Pakistan is ranked 159th out of 179 countries in the 2013 Reporters Without Borders press freedom index.