The International Press Institute (IPI) strongly condemned the murder of senior Pakistani journalist Razzaq Gul, a reporter at Express News in Turbat city, in southern Balochistan. Gul was found dead in the Kech district of Pakistan’s Balochistan Province on May 19, 2012.

According to the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ), Gul was reported missing near his home on the evening of May 18. His body was found the next day near the Old City Hospital with 15 bullet wounds to his head and chest. His body also showed signs of torture.

Local media reported that police have not yet identified the assailants of the murder and are currently trying to establish the motive for Gul’s death. Gul’s family and fellow journalists of the Turbat Press Club stated that he had not received any threats prior to his abduction and murder.

“I condemn in the strongest possible terms the brutal murder of Razzaq Gul, correspondent of Express News television channel in Turbat, Balochistan,” said IPI board member, Owais Aslam Ali, Secretary General of Pakistan Press International (PPI). “While the level of violence and intimidation of journalists has reached alarming levels all over the country, the situation of journalists in the province of Balochistan has reached a point where it has becoming virtually impossible to report independently.

“Over the last four years, at least six journalists have been deliberately targeted and murdered in Balochistan because of their reporting. None of the cases have been seriously investigated and no one has been arrested or punished for these heinous crimes.

“It is high time that the government realizes the gravity of the situation and establishes an independent judicial mechanism to monitor investigations of abductions, murders and intimidation of journalists and bring to justice individuals or institutions that are responsible for these actions,” Owais Ali told IPI.

Gul’s death comes shortly after the murders of fellow Pakistani journalists Tariq Kamal and Murtaza Razvi. Kamal, a Karachi-based reporter for a local Sindhi newspaper, was found on May 9 in Karachi. The journalist had been reportedly kidnapped on May 6. Razvi, a senior assistant editor and head of magazines at Dawn, was tortured and murdered in Karachi on April 19.

In response to the escalating violence and impunity, local journalists and activists of Human Rights Commission Pakistan gathered on Sunday to protest the murder of Gul and the inaction of government authorities to convict any killers. The rally was organized by the Balochistan Union of Journalists and began from the Quetta Press Club, reported the Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF).