Press Statement

Pakistan: Senior journalist killed in Punjab

20 Mar, 2024

Veteran Pakistani journalist Sagheer Ahmed Laar was killed on March 14 after unidentified men opened fire on him outside a pharmacy in Punjab. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), and the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) strongly condemn his murder, and urge Pakistani authorities to conduct an immediate and swift investigation into the incident, and ensure that journalists are free to work without fear of retribution.

According to sources close to the IFJ, former Nawankot Press Club President and Khabren News correspondent Sagheer Ahmed Laar, also known as Muhammad Sagheer, was shot to death by unknown people at approximately 6 p.m. on March 14, in the southern city of Khanpur in Punjab. Reportedly, three unknown people on motorcycles opened fire on him while he was seated in a pharmacy where he worked part-time. He was transport to the local Government Tehsil Hospital, Khanpur shortly after the incident, but did not survive.

On March 15, police registered FIR number. 369/24 at the Saddar Police station under sections 302 and 34 of the Pakistan Penal Code. Jaleel Ahmed, Sagheer’s brother, filed the complaint, which led to the investigation being opened. According to his brother Jaleel ,  the journalist received death threats, including the phrase “prepare your coffin” and “we will kill you.” He had previously been attacked by gangs of unknown people. According to Jaleel, the justification behind the murder is unclear, but could be work-related.

According to his brother, Sagheer was a bold journalist who wrote stories focusing on oppressed and low-income communities, with a particular focus on confronting powerful political and crime figures. The family have stated that they are unsure why Sagheer was killed.

Police are currently investigating the matter, with Sagheer’s phone currently in the hands of law enforcement.

PFUJ President GM Jamali and Secretary General Rana Muhammad Azeem said: “We  strongly condemn the killing of yet another journalist, and demand the provincial government of Punjab and the Punhab Inspector General of Police to immediately arrest the killers and give compensation to the family of the killed journalist, Sagheer Laar.”

IFJ General Secretary Anthony Bellanger said: “The killing of Sagheer Ahmed Laar is a tragic reminder of the risks facing our colleagues in Pakistan. Authorities must do more to ensure that journalists and media workers can operate without fear of retribution, and challenge a culture of impunity which denies justice to countless families. The IFJ strongly condemn the killing, and urge Pakistani authorities to conduct an immediate, thorough, and transparent investigation into the incident.”

Written By

IFJ Asia-Pacific IFJ Asia-Pacific

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