Mureed Abbas Khar, a prominent news anchor with Pakistan’s ‘Bol News’, was gunned down outside a café in Karachi’s posh Defence area on Tuesday. A friend accompanying Abbas, who was injured in the attack, later succumbed to his injuries at a nearby hospital. Latest reports coming from Pakistan say that Abbas was declared ‘dead on arrival’. According to Press Trust of India, Jinnah Post Graduate Medical Centre (JPMC) Executive Director Seemin Jamali confirmed that Abbas had been brought dead to the hospital. She said that the anchorperson sustained multiple bullet wounds on chest and abdomen.
The Geo News said that the gunman has been identified as one Atif Zaman, who opened fire at the news anchor from a white car. When police raided his house, he attempted to commit suicide. He was rescued and is now admitted to a local hospital, where is condition is said to be out of danger.
Reports suggest that the prime reason for the attack was some personal dispute over money. Taking cognizance of the incident, Sindh Inspector General of Police (IGP) Kaleem Imam has directed the concerned Deputy Inspector General (DIG) to submit a report in the matter. The IGP has also asked the officials to conduct a forensic investigation of the evidence collected from the area where the shooting took place.
According to Dawn News, Chief Minister Sindh Murad Ali Shah, who was on a visit to Iran, also took notice of the incident and discussed the matter with the chief secretary over the telephone. He issued directions to maintain law and order in the city.
With very poor ranking in press freedom index, Pakistani journlists have reported about consistent harassment. The military, intelligence, or military-linked and political groups were the suspected source of fire that resulted in half of the 22 journalist murders in the past decade, according to CPJ research.
India slipped two ranks on the 2018 World Press Freedom Index (138 from 136) one spot below Myanmar (137) and one spot above Pakistan (139). China also did not perform well with a rank of 176 (one spot above Syria).