QUETTA: Journalists from Khuzdar district started their protest on Sunday, following threats of a hit-list naming journalists by militant group Baloch Musallah Defa Army.
“No news is worth dying for,” a journalist told The Express Tribune, requesting anonymity. “We have already lost four of our colleagues in Khuzdar alone during the past year-and-a-half.”
The list, issued on Saturday, names four journalists Abdullah Kidrani, Abdullah Shawani, Munir Noor and Abdul Haq.
“The organisation will target those journalists who are working as informers of banned militant groups Baloch Republican Army and Baloch Liberation Army,” said a spokesperson of the BMDA, who called the Naushki Press Club from an unspecified location and introduced himself as Mir Jang Baloch.
Mir Jang also threatened the Khuzdar Press Club president against allowing the club to be used for ‘negative activities’. Earlier, threatening text messages were also received.
Another Khuzdar-based journalist, speaking on condition of anonymity, laid the blame squarely on the government and called the BMDA agents of the government and security agencies.
The decision to boycott professional activities came following a meeting of journalists where they decided that they will finalise their future course of action after consultation with journalist unions in Balochistan as well as all over Pakistan.
Pakistan has been declared one of the most dangerous countries in the world to work in as a journalist. The Committee to Protect Journalists has ranked Pakistan the tenth most dangerous place in the world for journalists to work and, according to the International Federation of Journalists, more than five journalists died in Pakistan this year, including Islamabad-based journalist Saleem Shahzad whose murder is being investigated by a judicial commission.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 28th, 2011.