A newspaper reporter was shot dead on Friday in Bahawalnagar apparently for helping police in an investigation. Two roadside vendors were also injured. One of them later succumbed to his injuries. The other being treated at the district headquarters hospital, was said to be in critical condition.
No one has been arrested.
Police said Ahmed Ali Joiya, 25, had been working as a reporter for several local newspapers and magazines.
They said he had been working on a crime story and had been coordinating with the police in this regard.
They said his investigation had helped the police. Police said Joiya had reported receiving death threats from Maqbool alias Kooli Sassi, a wanted criminal, for reporting on the latter’s gang. Police said they had asked Joiya to be careful and inform them of any meetings with strangers.
They said on Friday, when Joiya went to a market in Bhangrana village, some unidentified men shot him, killing him on the spot.
Two street vendors- later identified as Muhammad Munir and Muhammad Hanif- were also hit. Hanif succumbed to his injuries on the way to the hospital, while Munir was reported to be in critical condition.
A complaint was registered with the Takht Mehal police.
Police said they suspected Maqbool to have killed Joiya. They said Maqbool was wanted in more than 150 murder, robbery and kidnappings across Punjab.
Punjab Police has set a Rs1 million head money on Maqbool.
Bahawalnagar District Police Officer Muntazir Mehdi said that initial investigation revealed that Maqbool was believed to be hiding in Sindh. He said a police team had been formed to arrest him and his accomplices.
Sajjad Wattoo, a colleague of the deceased Ahmed Ali JJoiya, told The Express Tribune that Joiya had mentioned the death threats to his colleagues.
Colleagues and some relatives of the slain journalist protested the murder. They demand that the criminals be arrested at the earliest.
They said the district police had provided him guards last year, but were taken away when the caretaker government took charge.
Joiya had been writing about crime and narcotics control, particularly smuggling from India. His stories had helped the police in several cases and had been awarded a prize by the regional police in 2012. He is survived by a wife and two children.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 25th, 2013.