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PFUJ and IFJ condemn M. Zada Agra murder

KARACHI: G. M. Jamali, President Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) and Secretary General Rana Muhammad Azeem have condemned the murder of Social Media activist Muhammad Zada Agra in KPK.

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and its Pakistan affiliate, PFUJ have strongly condemned Muhammad Zada Agra’s assassination.

IFJ and PFUJ have called on the Pakistani government to immediately arrest the perpetrators and to create proper security mechanisms to ensure safety for reporters in Pakistan.

Muhammad Zada Agra was shot dead outside his house in Sakhakot by two unidentified gunmen on 8th of November, days after he spoke out against alleged corruption and drug syndicates in the region.

Tragically he was killed a day after Pakistan’s National Assembly passed the Protection of Journalists and Media Professionals Bill, 2021.

Agra was reportedly running a social media campaign against drug cartels and other criminals in the region before his death. He allegedly informed authorities about the threats to his life but was offered no protection.

According to a video circulating on social media, Agra recently participated in a meeting with the deputy commissioner of Malakand, where he spoke against the drug mafia and exposed their activities in his region.

After Agra’s murder, protesters gathered in Sakhakot and staged a sit-in on a major road with his coffin, chanting against local authorities.

Following this unrest, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government suspended the deputy and assistant commissioners of the region.

According to the IFJ’s South Asia Press Freedom Report 2020-2021, the continuing spate of physical attacks is chief among the safety concerns for Pakistani journalists and media workers.

Agra’s killing comes days after the brutal murder of outspoken Pakistani blogger, Nazim Jokhio, sparking concern for journalists and media workers’ safety despite legislative developments to ensure their protection.

The IFJ said: “We strongly condemn the murder of Muhammad Zada and call for an expeditious investigation of his death. The IFJ is greatly concerned by the patterns emerging from Pakistan

“…and urges Pakistani authorities to ensure the safety of its journalists and fulfill its international obligation under the Constitution of Pakistan regarding freedom of media & freedom of press.”

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M M Alam

M. M. Alam is a Pakistan-based working journalist since 1981. Karachi University faculty gold medalist Alam began his career four decades ago by writing for Dawn, Pakistan’s highest circulating English daily. He has worked for region’s leading publications, global aviation periodicals including Rotors (of USA) and vetted New York Times as permanent employee of daily Express Tribune. Alam regularly covers international aviation and defense-related events including Salon Du Bourget (France), Farnborough (United Kingdom), Dubai (UAE). Alam has reported thousands of events and interviewed hundreds of people in Pakistan, UAE, EU, UK and USA. Being Francophone Alam also coordinates with a number of French publications.