Islamabad, Ma Mar 1: Empty words need the flesh of arrests, prosecutions and convictions on them if they are to mean anything, said a Pakistani daily following a journalist being shot dead earlier this week.
An editorial in the News International said that yet another journalist has been murdered – this time in Miranshah, North Waziristan. Malik Mumtaz Khan, who was gunned down Feb 27, was the 13th journalist to be killed in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) since 2002.
“He was much respected for his journalistic integrity… (he was) brutally gunned down. His family says they were unaware of any threats against him and so far no group has claimed responsibility for the killing,” said the daily.
It pointed out that the “ritual hand-wringing by the usual suspects” was quickly in evidence.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor Engineer Shaukatullah condemned the killing and claimed “without a shred of evidence to back it up – that ‘solid steps were being taken for the protection and security of journalists’,” the paper said.
PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif expressed his condolences as did the Minister for Information Qaman Zaman Kaira. The army and even the TTP have condemned the murder.
“It is of note that there has not been a single arrest or prosecution of anybody for the murder of a journalist anywhere in Pakistan – ever.
So who killed Malik Mumtaz Khan?
“As ever there is no answer, no more than there has been an answer to the killings of other journalists in Pakistan. A wall of silence surrounds every death. Yet somebody does know. The killers of course, but also those who decided to target a specific journalist for whatever reason – but one must assume that the primary reason is to still a pen that writes uncomfortable truths,” it said.
“Expressions of grief by politicians far removed from ground realities are not enough. Empty words need the flesh of arrests, prosecutions and convictions on them if they are to mean anything. As ever, expect no early result,” the daily added.