Bullets to the editor: Five things you can’t say in Pakistan

March 30th, 2014

Scroll.in

By Shivam Vij

A failed assassination attempt on noted Pakistani journalist Raza Rumi highlights the dangers of speaking frankly in Pakistan.
 
 

Yesterday evening in central Lahore, unidentified gunmen attacked the car of senior Pakistani journalist Raza Rumi, who was on his way home after co-hosting a TV show on the Express News TV channel. The gunmen sprayed the car with bullets, 11 of which hit Rumi’s 25-year-old driver, who succumbed to injuries. His guard is in a critical state. Rumi escaped miraculously unhurt but visibly shaken. “I was dreading this day,” he tweeted.

Rumi is a co-anchor on the channel’s daily show, Khabar Se Aagey, meaning “ahead of the news”. He is also an editor with The Friday Times, a senior fellow at the Jinnah Institute think-tank and a frequent visitor to India. His visits to Delhi gave him the material for a book on the city, Delhi by Heart: Impressions of a Pakistani Traveller.

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Almost a martyr

Shahzad Raza
An assassination attempt on Raza Rumi raises questions about safety of journalists

Almost a martyr

Raza Rumi is among few of those foolhardy who challenge the extremists in fourth most dangerous country for the journalists. It was only a miracle that he evaded bullets in a brazen assassination attempt. Otherwise, God forbid, there would have been an addition to a specific list of martyrs.

Statistics of the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) show more than 70 journalists were assassinated during the last 22 years in Pakistan – a country only better than Iraq, Syria and Egypt as far as safety of journalists is concerned.

Rumi had words. His enemies had guns. Raza used his words to condemn massacres of innocent people in the streets of Pakistan. The enemies emptied their magazines to silence him. They failed. And the defiant journalist vowed to carry on with what he was already doing. Continue reading

Shaken

April 28th, 2014

The Friday Times

Mohammad Shahzad

The attack on Raza Rumi raises important questions about free speech and tolerance in Pakistan

Shaken

Columnist, anchor and author Raza Rumi escaped a terrifying assassination attempt last month in Lahore. His car was sprayed with bullets by six assailants. His driver was killed and his guard was seriously injured. Raza remained unscathed miraculously. His killers thought that they had achieved their objective but Raza was showed presence of mind by ducking at the sound of first bullet.

A thoroughly professional journalist has many unknown enemies. Journalists are harassed and thrashed by various mafias that rule Pakistan and it is a common practice. But an assassination attempt is made only when a journalist’s work has seriously risked their vested interests. Journalists have been allegedly killed by the intelligence agencies, crime mafias and religious bigots. Continue reading

The Raza Rumi Assasination Attempt: ‘When I Heard the Sounds of Bullets, I Knew They Had Come for Me’

 

 

Ronald Jackson Global Perspective

By Qurratulain Zaman

Well-known Pakistani blogger, influential Twitter user and TV host Raza Rumi was attacked on March 28 in Lahore on his way home by a spray of gunfire. Although Rumi escaped with only a minor injury, his 25-year old driver was killed. His guard was also seriously injured.

Rumi, a one-time contributor to Global Voices, was on the Taliban’s hit list because he opposed the government’s peace talks with the militant group and his moderate views were taken as anti-Islamic.
Global Voices recently talked with Rumi about the terrifying experience and the precarious situation of journalists in Pakistan. Continue reading

Canada taking right position on Pakistan

April 23rd, 2014

By Tarak Fatah

Lilley’s Pad

The letter by Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird was refreshing in its lucidity and demonstrated clarity, not common in this era of political correctness, where ambiguity passes for diplomatic-speak.

He wrote to a group of exiled Baloch students in Europe:

“We are concerned about reports of forced disappearances and extrajudicial killings in Pakistan’s Balochistan province … Canada strongly condemns acts of persecution on the basis of ethnicity or religion and shares international concerns about the treatment of Pakistani minorities, including the Baloch.” Continue reading

Pakistani Journalists Live Dangerously If They Cross The Line

NPR

Steve Inskeep talks to Raza Rumi, editor of the Pakistani newspaper Friday Times, about the rise in attacks against journalists. Rumi fled Pakistan after surviving an assassination attempt last month.

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

A man came by our studios this week who cannot go home. He is known by the name Raza Rumi. He’s a writer and television host in Pakistan – or at least he was until gunmen opened fire on his car. And now he’s staying outside Washington, D.C. Continue reading

Quotable Quotes

The Clarion Project

“Pakistan has turned into a society where even an allegation of blasphemy is enough to sentence and burn people.”

– Raza Rumi
Author, consulting editor for The Friday Times