PPF alarmed by the brutal murder of journalist Khalil Jibran in KP’s Khyber district; urges a swift and effective investigation

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Islamabad: Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF) is alarmed by the brutal murder of journalist Khalil Jibran on June 18 in the Landi Kotal tehsil of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province’s Khyber district. Jibran’s targeted murder, in light of threats previously issued to the journalist, is of grave concern. PPF urges the relevant authorities to ensure that the targeted killing of the journalist is investigated swiftly and effectively. 

Speaking to PPF, Tribal Union of Journalists (TUJ) President Qazi Fazal Ullah said that Jibran was killed by the firing of unidentified individuals near his home in the Mazreena area, near Landi Kotal Cantt. He said that the individuals took Jibran out of his car and shot at him. He received 19 bullets, Ullah said, adding that one person traveling with him, Advocate Sajjad, also received minor injuries. According to a Dawn report, the attackers had ordered the three other passengers to get out as they were not the targets.

Following the incident, Jibran’s body remained on the spot for a few hours as out of fear no one was able to transport it. Four hours later, police transported the body to Landi Kotal Hospital, where his post-mortem examination was conducted.  The TUJ president said Jibran had faced threats and had faced three attacks in the past, one of which he was also injured in. 

Khyber News Chief Editor Mubarak Ali told PPF that so far, no investigative team had been formed and urged the relevant authorities to form an investigative team. He also urged the provincial and federal government to support Jibran’s family. Jibran leaves behind a wife and six children.

In a statement, Khyber Union of Journalists (KhUJ) President Nasir Hussain and other duty-bearers expressed grave concern about the incident and declared it a failure of the government and administration. The KhUJ leadership urged Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Ali Amin Gandapur and the Army’s Corp Commander to immediately arrest those who murdered Jibran. Speaking to PPF, Hussain said that nothing had happened yet in the investigation.

The KhUJ also demanded the provincial government take practical steps to implement a journalists’ protection bill, in the style of the federal and Sindh governments so that there can be support in ensuring the safety of journalists. 

The TUJ along with the Khyber Union of Journalists and Peshawar Press Club and others staged a protest outside the press club on June 20. They demanded that the government form a judicial commission for investigations into journalists’ murders and through transparent inquiries those involved in such incidents should be punished. 

“We don’t want bodies; we want suspects and accused arrested,” TUJ president Ullah told PPF, adding that they had little faith in the authorities due to the lack of progress in the previous murders of journalists in the region. He also demanded the Peshawar High Court chief justice and Chief Justice of Pakistan to launch a judicial inquiry. 

The Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) strongly condemned the murder of Jibran and demanded the government arrest the killers and provide protection to media persons. 

In a statement issued by PFUJ President Afzal Butt and other office bearers, said even though Jibran had been facing threats from terrorists, no protection was provided to him. They urged KP CM Gandapur and Interior Minister Mohsin Naqvi to “immediately take measures to arrest the killers.”

In a statement, the Association of Electronic Media Editors and News Directors (AEMEND) condemned the murder and criticized higher authorities for failing to stop such incidents. 

The Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors (CPNE), in a statement by President Irshad Ahmed Arif and other office bearers, expressed concern over Jibran’s murder and said that journalists are being murdered around the country and federal, provincial authorities, and law enforcement agencies have failed to provide them security. 

President Asif Ali Zardari condemned the killing and stressed the need to take measures to protect journalists in the country. In his condemnation, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif directed the provincial chief minister and relevant authorities to ensure the immediate arrest of those behind the murder.  The provincial chief minister Gandapur has taken notice of the incident and directed police to make “all-out efforts to arrest his killers immediately.”

A criminal complaint or First Information Report was registered on the same day at the Landi Kotal Police Station under Sections 302 and 324 of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) and 7ATA by ASI Landi Kotal Police Station Zeenat Khan.

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