Hyderabad: 23 October 2023: The Pakistani authorities are currently conducting an investigation into the fatal shooting of a prominent local journalist in the southern Sindh province on Sunday. Jan Mohammad Mahar, who served as the bureau chief for the Sindhi-language cable television network Sindhi News, was targeted by unidentified assailants who fired at him at close range, as reported by local sources. This tragic event occurred while he was commuting through a bustling commercial district in Sukkur on his way home from work. Mahar, who was in his forties, was rushed to a hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries.
As of Monday, Mahar's family had not yet filed a formal police report. However, a knowledgeable individual informed media that there were already a few suspects under investigation. At this point, a clear motive for the attack has not surfaced, the source added, requesting anonymity due to lack of authorization to speak to the media. Despite attempts to contact the police officials involved in the inquiry, American media received no response.
Pakistan is widely regarded as a perilous environment for journalists, according to global press freedom watchdogs. The Committee to Protect Journalists reports that since 1992, no less than 97 media professionals and journalists have lost their lives in the country, with many specifically targeted for their journalistic endeavors. Regrettably, the rate of successful convictions in such cases is exceedingly low. Kiran Mirza, a member of the Sukkur Press Club, relayed to media that a senior police officer, during a visit to the hospital where Mahar was treated, informed journalists that in a recent meeting, Mahar did not disclose any threats he may have been facing.
Mirza expressed that her colleagues were deeply distressed and outraged by the incident. In response to this tragedy, the Sukkur Press Club has issued a call to media organizations across the province, urging them to stage a protest in front of the police superintendent's office on Tuesday morning if the culprits are not apprehended by that time. Tragically, Mahar's killing occurred just a week after another journalist, Ghulam Asghar Khand, was fatally shot by unidentified assailants near his residence in the town of Ahmedpur in Sindh. Between May 2022 and March 2023, Freedom Network, a Pakistan-based media watchdog, documented at least 140 instances of threats and attacks against journalists, media professionals, and media entities.