Nov 23, 2010

Balochistan: Journalists amongst the Disappeared in the Region

The case of Abdul Hameed Hayatan is one of the extrajudicial executions of journalists attributed to the Pakistani security forces in Balochistan, which is the most dangerous areas in the country.

Below is an article published by Reporters Without Borders

The body of Abdul Hameed Hayatan, a young Baloch journalist who was kidnapped in the southwestern port city of Gwadar on 25 October was found beside the River Sami in Turbat, 40 km to the east, on 18 November.

His reporting critical of the Pakistani authorities and his support for the Baloch national movement were almost certainly the motive for his abduction and murder.

“If the local and federal authorities want to rein in the violence in the province of Balochistan, they must conduct an exhaustive and impartial investigation into Abdul Hameed Hayatan’s murder,” Reporters Without Borders said. “If it goes unpunished, the province’s journalists will have every right to treat it as another extrajudicial execution.”

Hayatan was shot in the head and chest. Marks on his body clearly indicated that he was tortured before being killed. The body of a student, Hamid Ismail, was found alongside Hayatan’s. In a reference to a Muslim Eid (festival) that has just ended, a message found with the bodies said: “Eid present for the Baloch people.”

Journalists based in Balochistan told Reporters Without Borders that Hayatan was probably murdered by members of the security forces (who are fighting Baloch armed separatists) or a Jihadi group.

Balochistan is by far the most dangerous region in Pakistan for the media. Three other reporters have been killed there this year. One was gunned down in June and two others were killed in suicide bombings, in April and September.

Several cases of extrajudicial executions of journalists in Pakistan have not been investigated properly. They include the 2006 abduction and murder of Hayatullah Khan in the tribal area of North Waziristan.