ABBOTABAD/ PESHAWAR: Journalists from Hazara Division took to the streets on Tuesday, condemning the murder of Ibrar Tanoli and threatened to protest across the province if their demands are not met by March 20.
An unidentified assailant shot and critically injured Ibrar Tanoli, a photojournalist, on Sunday. He succumbed to his wounds at Ayub Medical Complex in Abbottabad on Monday.
Enraged over the killing, media personnel arranged a protest rally from Mansehra Press Club to the Karakoram Highway (KKH) where they blocked the highway for over 30 minutes.
Addressing the protesters, Mansehra Press Club President Shehzad Jehangiri said Tanoli had been receiving death threats from unidentified men and when he brought the matter to the DPO’s notice, he did not take any action and did not allow Tanoli to hire a private guard.
The protesting journalists demanded a judicial inquiry into the case and the immediate arrest of the murderer. They also asked for compensation for the family of the slain journalist in the form of the Shuhada package, the victim fund for regional journalists, proper security for journalists in Hazara and the transfer of the DPO.
They threatened to hold protests across the province, including sit-ins outside the provincial assembly, if their demands are not met by March 20.
Also speaking on the occasion, Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) President Afzal Butt said journalists are an easy target in Pakistan for those who oppose freedom of press. On behalf of the PFUJ, Butt announced he would bear the expenses of Tanoli’s children’s education and contest his case in court. The protesters then offered fateha for the deceased and dispersed.
Later, journalists from Haripur, Abbottabad, Havelian and Battagram also held a demonstration which started from Lady Garden and ended at Cantonment Chowk. The participants were carrying banners and placards condemning Tanoli’s murder.
In Peshawar, journalists held a protest against Ibrar Tanoli’s murder and the alleged beating of Amir Jalil, a reporter for Aaj TV, by a doctor from Lady Reading Hospital.
Khyber Union of Journalists President Nisar Mehmood, Senior Vice President Muhammad Naeem, and Peshawar Press Club President Nasir Hussain along with a large number of journalists participated in the protest.
The demonstrators held banners and placards demanding the arrest of Tanoli’s murderer and action against Dr Bilal who allegedly thrashed Jalil.
The demonstrators lashed out at the government for watching silently while the country becomes more dangerous for journalists day by day. They also criticised politicians and human rights organisations for claiming to advocate freedom of expression but remaining silent over murders of media persons.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 5th, 2014.