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Reporters without borders calls for investigation into killing of Pakistani journalist

Reporters Without Borders demonstration. (Reporters Without Borders/Released)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has called for an independent investigation into the death of a newspaper reporter who covered local corruption in Balochistan province in southwestern Pakistan.

Anwar Jan Kethran was shot dead by two gunmen as he was returning home on July 23 in Barkhan, a city in the northeast of the province, RSF said in a news release on July 30.

His family has accused Abdur Rehman Kethran, the provincial food and population minister, of ordering his murder. They say the minister had told the reporter to “stay away from journalism” because of his coverage of corruption.

“Everything indicates that Anwar Jan Kethran was killed because he informed the public about allegedly corrupt practices by local officials,” said Daniel Bastard, the head of RSF’s Asia-Pacific desk. “We therefore urge Balochistan First Minister Jam Kamal Khan to conduct an independent investigation into this murder so that both perpetrators and instigators can be quickly brought to justice.”

The family also was told to “stay quiet” or face “consequences.”

The family has filed a complaint with the Balochistan paramilitary forces that includes an accusation against the minister’s bodyguards.

Kethran was killed two days after Matiullah Jan, a journalist known for his criticism of the military, was abducted in Islamabad just days before he was due to appear before the Supreme Court on a contempt charge in connection with a tweet critical of Pakistan’s judges and military.

Jan was handcuffed, hooded, and tortured before being released 12 hours later, RSF said. He was among several Pakistani journalists who have been briefly detained in recent months, allegedly by the military’s spy agency.