Pakistan: Prominent exiled Afghan journalist shot in Islamabad

  • 09 Apr 2024

Calls for investigation following shooting of Afghan journalist in Pakistan

Exiled Afghan journalist Ahmed Hanayesh has been shot by a group of armed men in Islamabad, sustaining serious injuries to his leg and head.

The NUJ has joined The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and its affiliate, the Afghanistan Independent Journalists Union (AIJU), in urging the authorities to conduct an immediate investigation and ensure the perpetrators are brought to swift justice.

Hanayesh - the founder of private media outlets Radio Kahkashan and Radio Donya and a journalist with the United States Congress-funded Radio Azadi - was shot by two gunmen on a motorcycle while returning home in Islamabad’s south-eastern residential G6 area at approximately 11pm on 3 April.

He was shot twice in the leg, with another bullet grazing his head, and was transferred to a nearby hospital to receive medical treatment.

According to the AIJU, Hanayesh has since received treatment and is in a stable condition. The motive behind the attack is unknown.

Hanayesh has been living in Islamabad since January 2023. Before fleeing Afghanistan he was a member of the Afghanistan Journalist Centre’s Board of Directors, and is understood to have been involved with exiled Afghan media organisations.

On 14 March, senior Pakistani journalist Sagheer Ahmed Laar was killed after three unidentified men on a motorcycle shot him whilst he was in a pharmacy. While a First Information Report was lodged by his brother, Jaleel Ahmed, no suspects have been apprehended in relation to the killing.

The AIJU said: “The leadership of the AIJU, while wishing Mr. Hanayesh good health and recovery as soon as possible, requests the authorities of Pakistan and the journalistic institutions of that country to take this issue seriously and identify its perpetrators.”

The IFJ said: “Journalists must be free to operate without fear of retribution for their work and those responsible for this attack must not allowed to escape with impunity. The IFJ calls on the Pakistani authorities to conduct an immediate and thorough investigation into the shooting of Ahmed Hanayesh and take immediate steps to guarantee the safety of working journalists.”

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