Remembering Mushtaq Khand — A journalist lost on the frontlines nine years ago

On October 7, 2012, ten gunmen opened fire on a rally in Khairpur held by the ruling party of the Sindh province, Pakistan People’s Party. According to Dawn, at least six individuals were killed and four others were injured in the shooting. Dharti TV correspondent Mushtaq Khand was amongst those injured and later succumbed to the fatal injuries to his temple and leg

Other journalists including daily Awami Awaz correspondent Mukhtiyar Phulpoto, daily Naun Sij correspondent Faheem Mangi and freelance journalist Allahdad Rind were also injured.

Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF) pays tribute to the work of journalists on the frontline who put their lives at risk for their work. Khand’s death as well as the injuries to other journalists in this incident underscore the need for proper security equipment for the media on the field as well as essential training for reporting from conflict zones or in emergency situations. It is imperative that media organisations provide their reporters with the necessary safety equipment and ensure that they are safely working from high risk areas.

Phulpoto received a bullet to his arm which made his arm dysfunctional.

Mangi received two bullets in his back, one went through his body and the other was removed in an operation. He told PPF that the attack had happened suddenly and was due to political enmity. He said he was under treatment for two months noting that neither himself nor any of the other reporters in the area were provided with safety equipment for coverage.

Speaking to PPF, Khairpur Police Station Head Muharrar Ghulam Nabi said that the assailants had entered the meeting and opened the meeting before PPP leader Nafisa Shah was to address a rally.

On October 14, 2012, the main accused Azizullah Janwiri was arrested from Bahawalpur in Punjab and shifted to the Baagerji Police Station in Sukkur for interrogations. However, just weeks later, on October 30, accused Saddullah Janwiri and his companions had attacked the police station for Azizullah’s release. During the exchange of fire, Azizullah was killed and the attackers managed to escape.

In 2014, Saadullah was arrested from Lahore. Another accused, Mujahid Ali was arrested and sent to the Central Prison in Sukkur.

The case was presented before an anti-terrorism court where the others accused were declared innocent in a police investigation report submitted to the court. Saadullah and Mujahid Ali remain in custody and the case is still ongoing.