Journalist shot dead in Pakistan after writing about corruption

A social media activist in the Barkhan district of the restive the Balochistan province was shot dead on July 23, 2020, and the provincial Affairs Minister and his bodyguards were brought to justice in the murder of a citizen journalist, FNPK reported.

“We are shocked by this brutal murder of citizen journalist Anwar Ketran,” Freedom Network, an Islamabad-based organization, said in a statement on July 27, 2020.

“The provincial government in Quetta should condemn this murder and make sure that the accused Minister and his bodyguards do not influence their positions to deny the family justice of the victims in court,” Balochistan chief Minister JAMA Kamal said in a statement.

Anwar Jan Ketran, who has highlighted social injustice and challenged powerful homeowners on his Facebook and Twitter handles, was returning home on his motorcycle when unknown gunmen opened fire on him, his family confirmed to Freedom Network, an Islamabad-based media watchdog.

Akbar Khan, the brother of Ketran, accused the Balochistan government Minister of food and population Abdur Rehman Ketran and his bodyguards, who were appointed in the first police information report (FIR).

The Minister rejects the charge and says that Akbar Ketran “used a social platform to blackmail” him.

In a tweet dated July 12, 2020, the troubled Ketran accused Abdur Rehman of “destroying” all government departments in his Barkhan district.

This is the first such murder of a citizen journalist in Balochistan when citizens take to social media because the country’s main media does not report on Balochistan due to “self-censorship”.

“Both of the accused in the FIR are bodyguards of provincial Minister Abdur Rehman,” said the late Ketran’s brother. “The Minister is also among the accused. The reason for my brother’s murder is journalism. The Minister warned my brother to stay away from journalism.”

Akbar said :” I am sure that Ketran was killed on the initiative of the Minister. My brother was threatened over the phone for writing on social media.” He said his family was told to “keep quiet” or they would have faced “consequences.”

Early reported that the 21-day trial for the murder of Slovak journalist Jan Kuciak and his fiancee ended with a Prosecutor recommending that the three remaining defendants in the case be sentenced to 25 years in prison.