Pakistani amateur video reporter killed for covering illegal hunting of protected bird
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) calls for an independent investigation into the murder of Nazim Jokhiyo, an amateur video reporter based near Karachi, the capital of southern Pakistan’s Sindh province, who posted videos about illegal hunting trips for Arab dignitaries from the Gulf. All those behind his murder must be identified and brought to justice, RSF says.
“I am not scared. I am getting threats and I will not apologise,” Nazim Sajawal Jokhiyo said in a video posted online a few hours before his body – covered with the marks of blows and torture – was found at around 2:30 p.m. on 3 November in Malir, a district in Karachi’s eastern suburbs.
Jokhiyo said he was being threatened over a previous video he had posted online showing poachers organising a hunting party for “foreign guests.” The video ends when a man is seen to approach the camera, threaten its owner and grab it.
Jokhiyo made the video with the aim of drawing attention to the hunting of the Asian houbara bustard, a threatened species. Hunting this bustard is officially banned in Pakistan but is nonetheless permitted for wealthy dignitaries from the nearby Persian/Arabian Gulf’s petro-monarchies. To this end, he went to cover the arrival of several of these “foreign guests” at the locality of Jangshahi at the invitation of Jam Owais Gohram Jokhiyo, a local power broker who is a member of the Sindh provincial assembly.
After several threats, this provincial assembly member invited Jokhiyo to his country house, known as the “Jam House,” to “patch up” the dispute. Jokhiyo went there shortly before noon on 2 November. This was the last time witnesses saw him alive
“The brutality with which Nazim Jokhiyo was eliminated is all the more shocking because his murder was premeditated by a parliamentarian who is well-known in the region,” said Daniel Bastard, the head of RSF’s Asia-Pacific desk. “We call on Sindh chief minister Murad Ali Shah to order an independent investigation to identify the perpetrators and instigators of the murder of Nazim Jokhiyo, who paid with his life for trying to inform his fellow citizens about a local despot’s abuses. His crime must not go unpunished.”
Jam Owais Gohram Jokhiyo comes from a long line of landowners and is a member of the Pakistan People’s Party, Sindh’s ruling party. Yesterday, the police said they had arrested two men on suspicion of having beaten Nazim Jokhiyo to death. But those who gave the orders have so far been left alone.
When asked about the case, Sindh’s information minister, Hussain Shah, limited himself to saying the government “took notice of the incident.”
Jokhiyo was murdered in the same week that RSF relayed an appeal to the COB26 climate conference by journalists specialising in the environment who are calling on governments to respect their right to provide information. His murder also coincided tragically with the UN-recognised International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists, celebrated on 2 November.
According to Freedom Network, RSF’s partner organisation in Pakistan, none of the many murders of journalists in Pakistan has been punished for nearly a decade.
Pakistan is ranked 145th out of 180 countries in RSF's 2021 World Press Freedom Index.