By Sheharyar Rizwan
March 29th 2015
The country is still as unsafe as it was a year ago, when Raza Rumi was attacked.
It was on this day exactly a year ago that our colleague and friend Raza Rumi luckily escaped a brazen murder attempt on his life. While Raza received only minor injuries, his young driver lost his life, for no fault of his. Raza’s car was sprayed with bullets by six men from a close distance as he was on his way home after recording a show that he anchored on Express News. A few months later, six “target killers” allegedly belonging to the anti-Shia Lashkar-i-Jhangvi (LeJ) were arrested.
Supposedly they had claimed responsibility for the killing of popular Shia leaders as well as the attack on Raza for his anti-LeJ and anti-Taliban views.
Raza was and remains a liberal and outspoken voice on politics, society, culture, militancy, human rights and persecution of religious minorities. Maybe this was the reason those disagreeing with his views wanted him to go silent. Raza is thankfully alive, but has anything changed even though a year has passed since the attack? Continue reading
Published in Global Voices
March, 28th 2015
By Annie Zaman
March 28 marks the first anniversary of the attack on Pakistani blogger and prominent political commentator Raza Rumi. Once a contributor to Global Voices, Rumi was added to the Taliban’s hit list after he opposed government peace talks with the militant group in 2014. His moderate views also have been misinterpreted by some as anti-Islamic. When two gunmen opened fire on Rumi’s car at a market in Lahore, his 25-year-old driver and confidant was killed. Rumi departed for the US shortly thereafter, at the urgings of family and friends.
By Meena Menon
A week after Prime Minister Muhammed Nawaz Sharif said he wanted to make Pakistan a journalist-friendly country, there was a targeted attack on anchorperson and columnist Raza Rumi in Lahore on Friday night, which killed his driver.
Various journalists’ groups protested the attack including the National Press Club of Islamabad and Rawalpindi (NPC), the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists and the Rawalpindi Islamabad Union of Journalists.
At the modest gathering outside the National Press Club, journalists condemned the attack and said the government had failed in its duty to protect journalists. Shehryar Khan, president of NPC said that this was not only an attack on Raza Rumi but on all journalists and this was a clear attempt to silence the community.
Last week Mr. Sharif met Ms Kati Marton, Trustee of the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) who called on him with a four –member delegation.
Mr. Sharif said journalists are a vibrant part of society and providing a safe and secure environment to them is the government’s responsibility. The government is forming a commission of media persons, public figures and officials which will propose measures to be adopted to protect journalists in the field and ensure their well being, according to an official statement.
Ms Marton later appreciated the Prime Minister’s resolve towards strengthening democratic institutions in Pakistan and also his role in pursuing journalist Wali Khan Babar’s case which resulted in the conviction of his killers.
However, Pakistan is still considered a dangerous place for journalists and earlier this month, Abrar Tanoli was shot and later died in a hospital in Abbottabad. Based in Mansehra, he was a photographer and writer. He was threatened first and later gunmen shot him while he was travelling in his car with his family.
The attack on Mr. Rumi is the latest in the line of attacks on the Express New group which has had to tone down its criticism on the Taliban after the killing of three of staffers in Karachi. Its office too was attacked twice last year.