Pakistan: Re-investigation into journalist Shan Dahar’s murder case demanded

Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF) and the slain journalist’s victim family on Tuesday demanded of Sindh government to fulfill its promise of arresting the killers of assassinated journalist Shan Dahar, the Bureau Chief of Abb Takk Television Larkana, conduct effective re-investigation into his murder case and provide compensation and jobs to the victim’s children, which had been announced by former Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah.

Addressing a press conference organized by PPF at Karachi Press Club today, Fauzia Dahar, the sister of slain Shan Dahar, said that her brother was shot in the back at 12:30 am in the midnight of January 1, 2014, and was taken to Chandka Medical College Hospital where he remained unattended by doctors deliberately as a result, he succumbed to his injuries in the morning, nine hours later.

She said: “The local police in an investigation declared the death of her brother as an accident resulted from celebratory shooting on the New Year’s Eve. But, we firmly believe that Shan’s killing was targeted because of his stories on the illicit sale of medicines donated by NGOs in a local hospital. Fauzia said that the police investigation into the murder case was motivated and fake; therefore, immediate re-investigation should be conducted into the case so that the victim family could get justice.

She said: “Pakistan’s media community also believes that Shan  was killed for his journalistic work as he was working on a number of incendiary stories at the time and had also received threats prior to the shooting.”

During the nine hours that he spent at CMCH, Shan managed to inform his friends and family by telephone that Amir Zehri and Irfan Zehri had shot him in the back. She said that due to political influence by local powerful influential persons, police was reluctant to arrest the real killers and conduct reinvestigation into the case.

Fauzia said that police had arrested more than 20 persons, except main two suspects, after the murder but later released all of them. She said that the then Sindh Chief Minister, Qaim Ali Shah had also promised to ensure the arrest of the killers and provide Rs1 million compensation and jobs to Shan’s children, but such promise was also not fulfilled. She asked incumbent Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah to fulfill the promise made by his predecessor Qaim Ali Shah and ensure justice to the victim family. She said that killers are roaming and hurling dire threats of killing her for pursuing the murder case of her brother.

PPF’s Lala Hassan said that PPF and International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX) are constantly following the murder case of Shan Dahar in close liaison with the victim family. Shan’s sister Fauzia is constantly being threatened for pursuing the case.

He demanded re-investigation into the case and the arrest of real accused. He urged Sindh government to fulfill its commitments made by the former CM Sindh. “We also demand CM Sindh, IGP Sindh and DIG Larkana to bring killers to justice,” Hassan said.

HRCP leader Asad Iqbal Butt said that it was the matter of great concern that Shan Dahar’s case was being described as accidental. Shan’s murder was target killing as he was shot in the back. He said that several cases of journalists’ killing, including Shan Dahar’s case, were being spoiled in Pakistan. He demanded arrest and punishment to the killers of Shan.

Senior journalist Imtiaz Faran thanked PPF for highlighting Dahar’s murder case at international level. He said that PPF had played due role for demanding arrest of the killers and re-investigation into the case.

He said that several journalists had been killed in Pakistan but the government was not taking their cases seriously as a result, the cases were being spoiled. He said that media is not being given due status in Pakistan. “It is the hollow slogan of the government that media is fourth pillar,” he said.

He demanded of the Sindh government to ensure arrest of Shan Dahar’s killers through proper and effective re-investigation.