Here are two quick updates on prominent Pakistani cases we've been following:
Despite police claims made soon after the assassination-style killing of Geo TV reporter Wali Khan Babar on January 13, there have been no arrests made in his case, and there is little reason to expect that there will be any. Babar was one of 20 people killed in gang violence in Karachi that day. He was returning home after his report on the violence had been aired. Mark another case in Pakistan's poor record for impunity for the killers of journalists--the country ranked 10th last year in CPJ's Impunity Index.
New York, February 22, 2011--The Committee to Protect Journalists joins with the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) in calling for an investigation into the drive-by shooting death of Abdost Rind, a 27-year-old part-time journalist in the Turbat area of Baluchistan province in Pakistan's southwest on February 18.
The news of the sexual assault against CPJ board member and CBS correspondent Lara Logan hit us hard on Tuesday. At CPJ, we work daily to advocate on behalf of journalists under attack in all kinds of horrific situations around the world. Because of Lara's untiring work with our Journalist Assistance program, she's well known to everyone on our staff.
When we launched the new edition of Attacks on the Press at the United Nations today, I was hit with questions about Sri Lanka and Pakistan. Both dealt with what amounts to the same problem: What do you do when you're asking a government to investigate a crime in which it might have been the perpetrator?
The Sri Lanka question came first. What is happening in the case of Prageeth Eknelygoda, a critical cartoonist and columnist who disappeared more than a year ago? The question starts around 17:07 on the U.N.'s archived webcast of the event. The Pakistan question, which starts at around 33:55, addresses the case of Umar Cheema, another critical columnist. Both Pakistan and Sri Lanka get ample coverage in this year's Attacks on the Press.
by Bob Dietz and Shawn W. Crispin
Lal Wickramatunga's family and publishing house, Leader Publications, have paid dearly in Sri Lanka's highly charged political climate. While Leader's newspapers, including the weekly Sunday Leader, are widely known for tough, independent reporting, they have been caught up in a partisan media environment, one filled with violence and censorship. Wickramatunga's brother has been murdered, his company has been sued, and his journalists face intimidation.
It's good to see that not everyone has forgotten about the Danny Pearl case. The Pearl Project, a three-year investigation carried out by a team of American journalists and students at Georgetown University says that the Pakistani government's conviction of the four men it claimed beheaded Pearl sometime in February 2002, were convicted on conflicting and perjured testimony.
In May 2006, Abi Wright, CPJ's then-Asia program coordinator, wrote in "Daniel Pearl: An Open Case":
The death of a journalist in Karachi last week shows that violence in Pakistan is occurring well beyond the border areas with Afghanistan. On Thursday evening, Pakistani television reporter Wali Khan Babar was executed shortly after airing a report on gang violence in the city.
New York, January 13, 2011--Geo TV reporter Wali Khan Babar was shot and killed in Karachi this evening, shortly after covering gang violence in the city, according to several Pakistani journalists. At least two assailants intercepted Babar's car at 9:20 p.m., shooting him multiple times in the head and neck, Geo TV Managing Director Azhar Abbas told CPJ. One assailant spoke to Babar briefly before opening fire, Abbas said.
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