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File picture of Pakistani journalists staging a demonstration to condemn a suicide bombing in Quetta that killed dozens of people including some journalists, in Karachi, Pakistan, on August 8, 2016
| Photo Credit: AP

Pakistan Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Murtaza Javed Abbasi on Friday informed the Senate that 42 journalists have been killed in the country over the past four years, Pakistan-based Dawn newspaper reported.

According to data from the Information Ministry, 15 of the journalists were from Punjab, 11 were from Sindh, 13 from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and three from Balochistan. The journalists were either shot dead, targeted or killed by terrorists.

The data shows that seven suspects were arrested in Punjab out of which two are currently out on bail. Five out of the seven arrested are standing trial while eight suspects are on the run. One accused has been released by the court.

Four suspects have been arrested in Sindh while seven are facing trial. Two suspects in KP were acquitted, four are facing trial and one suspect is on the run. Two suspects in Balochistan escaped, one is facing trial, one suspect was sentenced and another is facing an investigation.

Failure to protect journalists

Speaking in the Senate, Jamaat-i-Islami party’s Mushtaq Ahmed said the federal and provincial governments had failed to protect journalists. He said that if the culprits had been caught, then “Arshad Sharif would not have been martyred”, Dawn newspaper reported.

Mr. Abbasi while responding to Mr. Ahmed said that it was a “critical situation” and the government should take swift action against the culprits and provide special security to journalists.

He directed Pakistan’s Interior and Information Ministries to prepare a consolidated report on the matter and present it to the House within a period of two months.

Meanwhile, Balochistan Awami Party Senator Danesh Kumar pointed out that there were over ten journalists murdered in the province instead of the three shown in the documents, Dawn newspaper reported.

In his reply, the Parliamentary Affairs Minister said that the report was compiled after consultation with all the quarters concerned and if someone had given a wrong figure, “he must be accountable as it is a sensitive matter”.

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