Protests erupt in many districts against Gadani's murder

Thousands shower flower petals on vehicle carrying slain journalist's body from port city to the last town of Sindh

Z Ali May 25, 2024


Journalist Nasrullah Gadani, fatally shot by unknown assailants in Ghotki district on May 21, lost the battle for his life in Agha Khan University Hospital, Karachi, on Friday. His dead body was shifted to his village Qabool Khan Gadani in Mirpur Mathelo taluka where he was laid to rest in the local graveyard in the evening.

Thousands of people showered rose petals on the ambulance, carrying his body, as it passed through dozens of big and small towns of Sindh on way to Ghotki, which is the province's last district touching Punjab's border. The news of his death sparked an outburst of condemnation against, hitherto, unidentified killers as well as the police on social media.

Protest demonstrations have also continued in many districts, organized by citizens, political workers and journalists' unions, since the day he was shot. On Friday hundreds of people held a protest in Ghotki outside the SSP's office and blocked the National Highway.

The police seem to be groping around in the dark to find the killers. "He was a very vocal journalist who not just raked feudal lords, politicians, policemen and bureaucracy over the coals but also exposed the wrongdoings of different types of criminals, drug peddlers and other segments of the society," Shabbir Bhatti, a senior journalist and friend of slain Gaddani, said.

Gadani was shot by three men riding on a motorbike in Mirpur Mathelo. Some police sources have revealed to the local media that the police are trying to twist the case by making it appear to be an incident of the honour killing. Neither the incident's FIR has been lodged nor have any names of suspects surfaced in connection with the case.

However, DIG Sukkur Syed Pir Muhammad Shah told the media that the police are hopeful of a breakthrough in the investigation before long. According to him, the entire district's police are working on the case but the investigation's progress cannot be shared at the moment.

He informed that so far the police have collected forensic evidence, video recordings showing movement of the three suspects on a motorbike and accounts of some eyewitnesses. "We are also thoroughly checking Gadani's social media accounts and every single comment made on his posts."

The deadly assault on a journalist provoked a backlash from the media workers, human rights activists, political, religious and nationalist parties. Pakistan Peoples Party's Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has condemned the killing and offered condolences to Gadani's family.

The Sindh Human Rights Commission underscored the severe dangers faced by media professionals in the region where another well known journalist, Jan Muhammad Mahar, was shot dead on August 13, 2023. Gadani has been survived by his four sons and daughters, all minor children, besides his wife. His fellow journalists told that even when he was alive Gadani's family was eking out a living.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 25th, 2024.


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