Pakistan is the most dangerous country for journalists worldwide and Balochistan one of the most dangerous place within this country.
“You can easily imagine the fate of a reporter there,” said Clothide Le Coz, Washington DC Director of the Reporters Without Borders while speaking at the International Day of the Disappeared conference Tuesday organized by the American Friends of Balochistan in Washington DC.
The meeting was presided over by Dr. Nazir Bhatti, president of the Pakistan Christian Congress.
Le Coz said Irshad Mastoi, the Online News Agency’s bureau chief in Quetta told the RSF journalism in Baluchistan was becoming “an endangered profession” “. Nationalists are often threatening reporters covering government activities and governmental groups (such as BADA) threatened those reporting on the nationalists.
As we mark the International Day of the Disappeared, Reporters Without Borders would like to express its concern about the fate of at least 11 journalists currently abducted, Le Coz said.
In Pakistan, nothing is knwon about the fate of Rehmatullah Darpakhel, who was kidnapped on 11 August in North Waziristan. He was seized by armed men as he left the Press Club. According to one of his colleagues, this kidnapping was part of the threats to the media in the sensitive region of the country.
Drapakhel colleague said:“We already lost a colleague, Hayatullah Khan, who was kidnapped in similar circumstances in 2006.”
Le Coz said, “So far, since January, 8 journalists have been killed because of what they knew and we all have in mind the murder of Saleem Shahzad this past May. Pakistan is ranked among the 20th worst countries to be a journalist in the world in our latest Index. A serious investigation has to be done. Since Daniel Pearl’s case, Pakistan has not been able to show commitment to any of the murders of journalists.”
Shahzad was reportedly killed by Pakistan’s premier spy service Inter-Services Intelligence after he fearlessly exposed their links with global Islamic jihadists.
Reporters Without Borders calls for the universal ratification of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, which the UN General Assembly adopted in 2006. It has so far been signed by 91 countries and ratified by 29. Combating enforced disappearance is vital in the struggle against dictatorships and arbitrary rule.
Balochistan patriotic leader Hyrbyair Marri and Balochistan representative at the U.N. Human Rights Council Mehran Baluch sent messages of solidarity.
Others who addressed the gathering included Jay Kansara, Associate Director of Hindu American Foundation; Ashraf Ramelah, president of the Voice of Copts; Jeffery Imm, founder of the Responsible for Equality and Liberties; and Andrew Eiva, chief of the Freedom for Sudan Committee.
The speakers expressed soldiarity with the people of Balochistan in the backdrop of the ongoing genocide there.