WALI KHAN BABAR’S ASSASINATION – Press Club sombre but defiant: journalists vow to fight on


KARACHI – The Karachi Press Club (KPC) presented a sombre but defiant picture on Friday, as the targeted assassination of 28-year-old journalist Wali Khan Babar reverberated among his friends and colleagues.
The KPC may be split along ideological lines, but all differences were cast aside as journalists from both the print and electronic media recalled the insecurity and uncertainty braved by media personnel in the execution of their jobs.
It was all too familiar for many stalwarts, who pointed to a number of assassinations in the past. Zahoor Ahmed, for instance, was killed at the hands of the land mafia some years ago due to his outspoken views on encroachment. He would often deliver speeches at the Hyat restaurant to raise awareness, but his life was cut short.
The younger ones, and those who worked with Babar, spoke of his courage in reporting from conflict-ridden areas of the city. “I worked with Wali in Pehlwan Goth since the last two days. I had warned him not to proceed in the narrow lanes of the troubled area due to the danger, but he didn’t listen and went ahead in any case,” said Naveed Qamar, a journalist associated with a local channel.
“Wali was very meticulous; the operation started at 3pm, but he was waiting since 1pm with his team so that live coverage could start as soon as possible,” Qamar said.
Other journalists also discussed the larger ramifications of Babar’s murder. “This is a lesson for all aspiring journalists in the hardships faced by Pakistani journalists, specially those working in Karachi,” said one.
“My family has asked me to leave the profession, but we will all stay and fight,” said another.
Meanwhile, the Karachi Union of Journalists (KUJ) demanded of the government and the law enforcement agencies to immediately arrest the killers of Babar during a protest outside the KPC on Friday.
A number of media professionals including reporters, cameramen and photographers gathered outside the KPC, with many wearing black armbands and carrying banners and placards. Later, they marched towards the Arts Council roundabout, where they staged an hour-long sit-in.
“All of us journalists are with the bereaved family, and we will continue our protests until the killers are arrested,” said KUJ President Khurshid Abbasi, adding that Babar was murdered for exposing facts.