The IPI global network is shocked and saddened by the killing of veteran Pakistani journalist Iftikhar Ahmed, who was fatally shot by an unidentified attacker in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province in northwestern Pakistan on July 2. IPI strongly condemns his killing and urges Pakistani authorities to conduct a swift, thorough, and independent investigation and to prosecute those responsible.
Ahmed, who worked with Express News and Daily Express for 17 years, was shot while leaving a mosque after Isha prayer, according to reports. His body was later found by his brother near the Shakir Market of the district, and he was then brought to Tehsil Headquarters Hospital in Shabqadar.
Police have registered a FIR, a document prepared by the police when they receive a complaint about a cognizable offence, against unnamed suspects.
“The killing of Iftikhar Ahmed calls attention to a deeply concerning and disturbing trend of increasing violence faced by journalists in Pakistan, where journalists are routinely being silenced and threatened”, IPI Deputy Director Scott Griffen said. “Authorities must conduct a thorough investigation in order to determine the motive for this killing and to bring those responsible to justice. The government must ensure that journalists are able to freely and safely do their work.”
Between May 2021 and April 2022, there were at least 86 attacks against journalists and media practitioners, from legal harassment to detainments to online abuse, according to the Freedom Network Pakistan Press Freedom Report 2022. The state and its functionaries ranked as the “biggest threat actor targeting media in Pakistan” in the report. Journalists reported being abused on social media, targeted for working with digital media, and served with legal notices.