TV Journalist Survives Attempted Murder Bid In Lahore

March 29 2014

Freedom Network

TV Journalist Survives Attempted Murder Bid In Lahore

Senior journalist and TV anchor Raza Rumi, working with Express News channel, escaped attempted target-killing on Friday (March 28, 2014) in what appears sequence of events targeting the country’s liberal media house since last year.

“With Friday evening attack on Raza Rumi we have no doubt that it was part of the campaign targeting Express media house for taking up issues concerning the public and defenders of human rights, freedom of press and freedom of expression,” Freedom Network [FN], Pakistan’s first media watchdog organization, said in press freedom alert on Saturday (March 29, 2014). Continue reading

Attempt to Silence One More Journalist in Pakistan

04/20/14

By Jehangir Khattak |

 
The space is shrinking for independent journalism in Pakistan because of continuous violence against journalists by militants and state agencies. The attack on Hamid Mir, Pakistan’s most respected journalist, proves this again. Mir survived an assassination attempt in Karachi on April 19, 2014. An unidentified gunman targeted him as he traveled from the airport to the office of Geo News, the TV channel on which he hosts his popular political current affairs show Capital Talk. He received multiple bullet wounds and required a long surgery to stabilize.

Mir is the second Pakistani journalist who has survived an assassination attempt in three weeks. On March 28, 2014 Raza Rumi, a blogger and a television anchor forExpress News channel, was attacked in Lahore in which his driver was killed and guard injured. These journalists were targeted apparently because the powerful, in a country where violence has worked in favor of those who perpetrate and perpetuate it, did not like their views on a range of issues including militancy and security policies. Continue reading

SAFMA, SAMC condemn attack on journalist Raza Rumi

29-Mar-14

SAFMA

LAHORE: South Asian Free Media Association (SAFMA) and South Asia Media Commission (SAMC) have slammed as outrageous an attack on Express TV anchor and columnist Raza Rumi in which his driver was killed and his guard injured.
“We note with indignation that this is the fifth attack on Express Media group. The impunity perpetrators for the prior attacks enjoy has emboldened them to repeat violence against media people,” said SAFMA Secretary General Imtiaz Alam and SAFMA Pakistan President Nusrat Javeed, and SAMC Chairman Kumar Ketkar and Secretary General M Ziauddin, and Media Commission-Pakistan General Secretary Babar Ayaz in a statement. Continue reading

And Now, They are Coming for Us

1 April 2014

Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies

D Suba Chandran
Director, IPCS

The recent attack in Lahore on Raza Rumi, a noted journalist and a moderate voice in Pakistan, highlights the new trend in targeting the media, especially those who do not adhere to the views of the Taliban and its multiple franchisees.

Raza Rumi was fortunate to survive the attack; but not his driver. There have been a series of similar attacks against journalists in Pakistan; and according to a report by the Committee to Protect Journalists, over 50 media-persons have been killed in Pakistan over the last two decades. But Rumi was targeted, not because he is a journalist. He was attacked for his fearless expression of moderate and secular views vis-à-vis radicalism and minorities within the country. Outside Pakistan, he also believes in the shared history of India and Pakistan and has written at length about our Sufi past. Continue reading

Who was Raza Rumi?

May 9th, 2014

Pak Tea House

It was only late in the night when I came to know that Raza Rumi was attacked—By whom and why? I do not know. I just know that because of the consequence of that unprovoked attacked, Raza was compelled to leave Pakistan and settle in some neutral land where his safety and security is, at least, not at risk. Well, so much has been written about the unfortunate circumstances and plight of the security of journalists in Pakistan and so much has been said already too. I may save myself from taking a dip in this vast sea. Here I want to expound on who was Raza Rumi.

A Teacher? A Sufi Master? A Friend? I have no words to express my grief over these unfortunate and saddening times. Long gone are those days when Shams of Tabraiz wandered from Balakh to Constantinople to find Rumi to quench his spiritual thirst. I was one of few lucky who have known Raza, not for long, as a spiritual soul looking to find the eternal and absolute truth. It was one cozy evening of the summer of 2012 when I contacted Raza over twitter. I was attracted towards his objectivity, impartiality and integrity over many matters and problems engulfing this country.

We met over coffee and had discussion over composition of Alif Laila wa Laila and great work of Syed Ali bin Usman Al-Hajveri called Kashaf ul Mahjoob. We were able to look beyond the stark and muddy puddle of strict theology and canonical pipe that obstruct the view and spats mind with black blot that makes us totally useless and we try to impose ideas and interdict free thought. He made me indite what was in my heart and to undress my thoughts so that world should know that truth is beautiful when it is naked! Oh how can I grieve more? I don’t grieve and I don’t mourn over his departure from Pakistan. I mourn for my people who let go such gem.

A fortunate, by the men of ancient times in dreams long sought

Has been vouchsafed to modern men; without the efforts caught

It is us who are at loss. It is us who should sulk over this mighty loss. Yet, his departure is a respite to many whose minds are closed and souls confined to dark chambers of thoughtlessness where free thought is nipped before even sprouting from the seed of brain. Yet light will shine. Perhaps this allegory explains what I want to say. During pitch-black night in a room which has walls painted black and floors covered with dark black marble, an insolent soul, a rebellious soul who stood up to the injustice lights a small flame. What happens? It conquers the darkness and defeats it. So did Raza. Thus a little light in the realm of shadows made her dwellers so scared that they set out to take toll over his life. But as Rumi puts it:

Whole Sea a fish will never drown;

A poor man’s day seems all one frown

What boot from counsel to a fool

Waste not your words; your wrath let cool

So Raza was let go away. But not far. Yes, it is us who are at a loss. A tumult is heard in this world full of noises. A cry so clear yet muted. It was heard only by those who can look ahead; have the courage to see the things outside the narrow canonical pipe In light of love.

Though I know I may not be able to meet you, Raza, for long time but I am always ready to embark on the spiritual journey or old and new. Yes, your work, Delhi by Heart, is a treatise of love and a guidebook of Calculus of Spirituality. Whenever I will miss you, I will take a leap of faith and find myself in streets of Shahjahanabad in search of some lost Sufi saint. Whenever I need guidance from you, I will scroll through the pages of Darashikoh’s works. I will find you in streets of Old Lahore. I will see your traces in tomb of Madhu Lal Hussain. Oh yes, Shamas of Tabraiz who on one of his spiritual journeys preached to your ancestors and converted them into folds of Islam. What did Shamas of Tabraiz know that in these troubled times, people are no more converted to Islam with love but personal wishes of people have become their god, their Islam, their holy scripture. Yet, I miss you! God bless you!

But I know so many of us won’t understand. Hardened are their hearts. In words of Rumi, “It would be easier to convert seventy Bishops to Islam, than to clear away mind of that teacher the stains of hate, and so set him on the right road,” [Adepts of Rumi II: p 53]

‘A bullet has been chosen for you’: Attacks on journalists in Pakistan

May 3rd, 2014

Pak Tea House Blog

Amnesty has released its latest report entitled  “A Bullet Has Been Chosen For You” – Attacks On Journalists In Pakistan 

The situation in Pakistan seems dire. Here are the highlights:

  • At least 34 journalists may have been killed as a direct consequence of their work since democratically-elected government was restored in March 2008.
  • Only in one case have the perpetrators been convicted, the 2011 killing of Geo TV correspondent Wali Khan Babar, and even in this case there were serious concerns about fair trial issues.
  • Since Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif formed government in 5 June 2013, at least 8 journalists have been killed across Pakistan as a direct result of their work. These include 5 journalists killed in 2014.
  • Of the 34 killings since 2008, 9 took place in northwestern Pakistan (the Federally Administered Tribal Areas or Khyber Pakhtunkhwa).
  • 13 took place in Balochistan province, and of these 6 happened in the province’s second town Khuzdar.

 

Introduction of the report mentions Raza Rumi, the founder/editor of this website:

“I was told my name was on a Taliban hit-list, but I hoped this was just a tactic to scare journalists like me speaking about the situation in my country. How wrong I was.” Raza Rumi, journalist Continue reading

Another attack on the media- DAWN Editorial

March 30, 2014

THE motive for attacking Raza Rumi, a liberal and outspoken national commentator on politics and society, is relatively easy to guess: it was meant to silence his voice forever and to send a message to anyone else espousing similar views in the public sphere. For the media as a whole, the attack in Lahore on Mr Rumi, in which a driver lost his life and a guard was injured, is yet another ominous sign that the pressure building on the media may be about to reach the point of explosion. While individuals, including Mr Rumi, have been named in militant hit lists, the signs are that something far bigger and terrible in scale and impact against the media may be imminent. Quite what that may be is difficult to know, but the lethality and ferocity of the militants and their willingness to kill and intimidate must never be underestimated. Continue reading

The terrorist threat- Editorial Daily Times

March 30, 2014

The horrific incident of an attack on Express TV’s anchor Raza Rumi in Lahore on Friday night underlines the precarious condition of security for the media in Pakistan. Two motorcyclists, who Rumi thinks were waiting to ambush his car, opened fire with submachine guns while he was on his way home from work. The hail of bullets killed his driver and wounded his police guard. Fortunately Rumi received only minor cuts and abrasions. Reports say the killers had obviously been carrying out reconnaissance on Rumi’s routine. The media group he works for has had more than its share of unwanted attention from violent elements of late. This attack in Lahore is the fifth on the group since last August. Two attacks on the group’s offices in Karachi last year wounded five people, three of its employees were murdered in cold blood when their TV van was ambushed in Karachi, a bomb planted outside the group’s Peshawar bureau chief’s residence was fortunately disabled, and now this first of its kind attack in Lahore has yielded one death and injuries. The question arises why the group has been targeted in this manner. One explanation on offer is that the media group’s policies have annoyed extremist elements that are now seeking to silence it. Certainly this can be claimed in the case of Raza Rumi without fear of contradiction since he is well known for his outspoken views against the Taliban. Rumi himself did not speculate about the identity of the attackers when speaking to media after the incident, but did point to the reports of a hit list prepared by the Taliban to target media they considered ‘hostile’. Given this background, the cast of usual suspects is headed by the Taliban, specifically the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), which ironically is engaged these days in ‘peace’ negotiations with the government. The TTP, as we have repeatedly argued in this space, is playing a tactical game of ostensibly engaging in peace negotiations while ‘sorting out’ some of its perceived enemies, particularly in the media. These actions are not only not claimed by the TTP, they are denied and ascribed to ‘rogue’ or ‘splinter’ groups such as the Ahrarul Hind (claimed to have been responsible for the Islamabad courts complex attack but which some reports say was ordered by the TTP). While the Lahore attack has been roundly condemned by everyone from top to bottom of the government, political parties, traders, lawyers, doctors and other citizens, the journalists’ bodies had resolved to carry out protests on Saturday. Unfortunately, these bodies too have ‘woken up’ late to the threat posed to the media in Pakistan. A number of journalists have been killed over the years, earning Pakistan the dubious title of the most dangerous country in the world. According to Reporters Without Borders, seven journalists were killed in Pakistan over the last year alone. Alarmingly, neither the media industry itself nor the authorities seem to have any plan in mind to protect and secure journalists. Pakistan’s other dubious distinction, despite its lively media, is that it occupies 158th position out of 180 countries in press freedom rankings. This status is owed to pressures from powerful state and non-state actors, both of whom often use muscle when ‘persuasion’ fails to get their way. Continue reading

What should happen following the Raza Rumi attack

By Bob Dietz/CPJ Asia Program Coordinator

Committee to Protect Journalists

On March 28, gunmen sprayed the car of TV anchor and widely-respected analyst Raza Rumi, a member of the Express Group of media organizations. He escaped serious injury, but his driver, Mustafa, died. It was the fourth attack on the Express Group in eight months, with four people dead. There has been no serious police investigation into the events which took place in Karachi, Peshawar, and now Lahore, where Rumi’s car was “bathed in bullets on one of city’s main arteries,” as The Express Tribune put it in an editorial on Sunday.

When our four-person CPJ delegation met with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Minister Pervaiz Rasheed, who holds both the information and law portfolios, we came away impressed with their intent to come to grips with attacks on journalists in Pakistan. As we worked our way down our list of recommendations we found the government was already on the way to addressing many of them, and often planning solutions similar to those we were recommending. It’s our duty to remain skeptical, but we left with an entirely different feeling from the Sharif meeting than when we had met with President Asif Zardari in May 2011 or with Interior Minister Aftab Sherpao in July 2006 during the Musharraf government. In those meetings we were met with evasion, denial, and false promises. The current government knows it has a problem and wants to deal with it. At our meeting, Sharif suggested establishing a special commission which would propose measures to be adopted by the government to protect journalists in the field and ensure their well-being. A good idea, but one that will be a long time aborning. Continue reading

HRCP voices concern over attacks on Rumi, worship places

April 01, 2014

Business Recorder

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has expressed alarm over a number of disturbing developments including the assault on journalist Raza Rumi and attacks on temples in Sindh and called these a new wave of intolerance.

In a statement issued on Monday the Commission said, “HRCP has grave concerns over a number of recent incidents, including an attack on Raza Rumi in Lahore, a spate of assaults at Hindu temples, the most recent one being in Hyderabad, and the death sentence for Sawan Masih in a blasphemy case.  Continue reading