He was murdered during the turbulent downfall of the regime of Pervez Musharraf in 2007
A new report by three global free press campaigner groups on the murder of Pakistani journalist Zubair Mujahid has found significant errors in the official police investigation.
Working as a correspondent for the Daily Jang – Pakistan’s largest Urdu language newspaper – in the southern city of Mirpurkhas, Mujahid’s reporting exposed local corruption and human rights abuses by police.
He was murdered in November 2007 during the turbulent downfall of the regime of Pervez Musharraf.
Pakistan is one of the most dangerous countries for journalists. According to research by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) at least 61 journalists have been killed since 1992. On the most recent World Press Freedom Index published by Reporters Without Borders (RSF), the country ranks 145 out of 180.
The latest report “Breaking the Silence: An Investigation into the Murder of Zubair Mujahid” was published as part of “A Safer World For The Truth”, an initiative by the three organizations – RSF, CPJ and Free Press Unlimited (FPU).
It was published to pursue justice for murdered journalists worldwide. The report is the second in a series of investigations into unsolved murders of journalists worldwide.
In a statement on Wednesday, the rights groups asked the government of Prime Minister Imran Khan for an independent re-investigation of the case to bring the killers to justice.
“Strikingly, some of his most impactful stories exposed wrongdoings by the local police in Mirpurkhas, which led to the dismissal of various police officers. As a consequence, Zubair Mujahid received threats from individuals within the police department. This very same department was tasked with investigating the murder.”
The report reveals serious errors in the official police investigation. “Specifically, it finds that police investigators did not analyze the bullet with which Zubair was shot and did not search for eyewitnesses around the crime scene. The Mirpurkhas police did not respond to requests for comments.”
The report calls for an effective and impartial investigation team to re-investigate the murder. This must be done under the auspices of the High Court of Sindh, the statement reads.
Leon Willems, director at FPU, said: “Killing a journalist is the world’s safest crime: in nine out of ten cases the killer goes free. To break the cycle of impunity, Pakistan’s authorities must step up their efforts to ensure justice for Zubair Mujahid.”
Joel Simon, executive director of CPJ, stated that re-investigating the murder case would be an important step towards breaking the cycle of impunity.
“Pakistan has seen almost total impunity for the murder of journalists over the past decade,” Simon said.
Christophe Deloire, secretary general of RSF, said: “Zubair Mujahid was murdered for exposing the truth. The murder must now be adequately investigated, and justice must be achieved.”