A reporter for KTN TV and the newspaper Kawish, which are owned by Pakistan’s largest Sindhi-language media group, Aziz Memon was last seen when he set off the day before to do some reporting in the nearby locality of Behlani.
Fellow journalist Akhlaiq Jokhiyo told RSF that no sign of torture or blows was discovered during an initial examination of the body. “The modus operandi was so sophisticated that no trace of the murderers has been found,” he said. “We believe Aziz was killed first [by strangulation] before his body was thrown into the canal.”
“We call on Sindh province chief minister Syed Murad Ali Shah to do everything possible to ensure that Aziz Memon’s brutal murder does not go unpunished,” said Daniel Bastard, the head of RSF’s Asia-Pacific desk. “We also urge the federal government and parliament to quickly finalize a law protecting journalists and combatting impunity, in order to rein in the spiral of violence against media personnel.”
Jokhiyo told RSF that both he and Memon’s wife believe that he was targeted in connection with his reporting. Jokhiyo said Memon had been threatened repeatedly and had “even sought refuge for a while in Islamabad” before returning to his hometown.
KTN TV chief editor Mustafa Jarwar confirmed to RSF that Memon had reported receiving death threats. They seem to have been triggered by his coverage of the “Train March,” a campaign of protests and rallies organized nearly a year ago by the Pakistan Peoples Party and its president, Bilawal Zardari Bhutto, who crossed Sindh by train.
Menon is the first Pakistani journalist to be killed in 2020. Four Pakistani journalists and a blogger were killed last year in connection with their reporting.
Pakistan is ranked 142nd out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2019 World Press Freedom Index.