Pakistan authorities must swiftly and thoroughly investigate the killing of journalist Hasnain Shah and bring the perpetrators to justice, the Committee to Protect Journalists said on Tuesday.
On Monday, January 24, two unidentified people on a motorcycle shot and killed Shah, a senior crime reporter for the privately owned news channel Capital TV and a council member of the Lahore Press Club, according to multiple news reports and a report by Capital TV.
Shah was sitting in his car at a traffic light outside the press club, a professional journalists’ association, when two masked attackers shot him seven times in the chest and then fled the scene, those reports said.
“The killing of journalist Hasnain Shah in broad daylight outside the Lahore Press Club is an outrageous and brazen attack on the press in Pakistan,” said Steven Butler, CPJ’s Asia program coordinator, in Washington, D.C. “Pakistan authorities must do everything in their power to bring the perpetrators to account and end Pakistan’s terrible record of impunity in attacks against journalists.”
Lahore Press Club President Azam Chaudhry told Capital TV that the attack, which took place in an area heavily covered by surveillance cameras and police, may have been designed to send a chilling message to the journalist community in Lahore, the capital of Punjab province.
Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar condemned the attack and ordered an investigation, according to those news reports. On Tuesday, police registered a first information report opening an investigation for murder and terrorism, according to Capital TV.
Lahore capital city police officer Fayyaz Ahmed Dev said that all resources will be used to apprehend the suspects, according to news reports. CPJ emailed Dev and Buzdar’s offices for comment but did not receive any reply.
CPJ was unable to immediately find recent examples of Shah’s work. CPJ called, emailed, and messaged Capital TV for comment, but did not immediately receive any responses.
Pakistan ranked ninth in CPJ’s 2021 Global Impunity Index, which spotlights countries where members of the press are murdered and their killers go free.