Muhammad Zada was vocal against the illegal drug mafia and claimed that a Malakand district police officer was harassing and threatening him for his activities.
Guwahati: Pakistan, one of the most troubled nations in South Asia, continues to lose scribes, citizen journalists, and digital media users for exposing anomalies in the government, administration, and society through various media outlets. Lately, the gunmen attacked Muhammad Zada, a blogger, based in the Sakhakot area of Malakand locality in a northwest province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, to death for exposing local drug trafficking.
According to local media reports, Zada was gunned down at his residence on 8 November last by two chasing motorcycle riders. Zada ran a digital platform titled Citizen Journalist PK, where he used to post socially relevant issues relating to his home district of Malakand. He was not scared while putting inputs against local criminal groups, who otherwise enjoyed support from the administration.
The outspoken social activist always took his stand against the illegal drug mafia and expressed his concern about the new generation, seemingly under the grip of such consumption. Zada remained critical against the corrupt politicians, government officials and some local leaders making money from the illegal business with impunity.
Slowly, Zada became very popular in his locality, and subsequently, he earned enmity from some influential personalities, including a few police officers. He even publicly claimed that a Malakand district police officer was harassing and threatening him for his activities. Zada was asked to stop putting posts on social media and otherwise face the consequence.
Paris-based Reporters without/sans Borders (RSF), while condemning the murder, called for an independent investigation into the incident. Those who ordered this shocking murder must be brought to justice, said RSF statement asking the provincial chief minister Mahmood Khan to take necessary actions to book the culprits under the law.
“By filling the gap left by the traditional media, which doesn’t dare cover certain sensitive subjects because of various forms of pressure and self-censorship, Muhammad Zada was providing his fellow citizens with absolutely vital information of a public interest nature. This appalling crime cannot go unpunished,” said Daniel Bastard, the head of RSF’s Asia-Pacific desk.
Zada is the second journalist to be murdered in the past week in Pakistan, where violence is often used to silence critics. As RSF reported, the body of Nazim Jokhiyo, an amateur video reporter, was found covered with the marks of blows and torture on 3 November, a few hours after he posted a video online showing poachers organising a hunting party for Arab dignitaries in the southern province of Sindh, added Daniel.
Meanwhile, Zada’s murder created outrage among the locals, and many of them demonstrated their anger. CM Khan declared that he had already asked for a report from the concerned police official and directed him to arrest the culprits at the earliest. Khan assured that transparent inquiry into the incident would be conducted, and perpetrators would be given punishment. He added that no one is above the law, and the government will provide complete legal assistance to the affected family.