Islamabad [Pakistan], March 21 (ANI): Global media watchdog, Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) on Saturday demanded authorities in Pakistan's southern Sindh province to urgently conduct a "credible" investigation and arrest those responsible for this week's killing of a journalist.
"Police in Sindh province must waste no time investigating the killing of journalist Ajay Lalwani and apprehending those responsible," said Steven Butler of the New York-based advocacy group CPJ in a statement.
Ajay Kumar Lalwani, a local general news correspondent for a privately owned Urdu language newspaper, suffered multiple gunshot wounds and died in a hospital late Thursday, reported Voice of America.
Lalwani was sitting in a barbershop in the province's Sukkur city on Wednesday evening when unknown assailants riding a motorcycle and a car with four passengers opened fire on him.
"It's critical that the investigation be led by officers who are able to maintain public confidence, given the long history of tensions between local journalists and the police in Sukkur," said Butler, CPJ's Asia program director.
The CPJ quoted Ashiq Jatoi, editor of the Daily Puchano, which the slain reporter worked for, as telling the watchdog he believed that Lalwani's killing was related to his professional duties. He cited past threats against the journalist but did not elaborate further, reported Voice of America.
Jatoi also cast doubt on the impartiality of the investigative team, citing a history of tension between police and journalists in Sukkur. The CPJ noted in its statement that journalists in Sukkur have repeatedly held demonstrations against the city police to protest the filing of anti-state charges against journalists who report on alleged corruption. In some cases, police resorted to violence to suppress the protest campaign, it said.
Last year, at least two journalists were kidnapped and murdered in Sindh.
Pakistan has long been considered a dangerous place for journalists, according to CPJ, and those involved in attacks on journalists are rarely punished.
In 2020, the South Asian nation ranked ninth on the CPJ's annual Global Impunity Index, which assesses countries where journalists are regularly killed and their killers go free, with 15 unresolved murders. (ANI)