Police in Pakistan on March 20 confirmed that they have opened a probe into the killing of a journalist in southern Sindh Province, which comes after the Committee to Protect Journalists demanded a “credible investigation.”
Ajay Lalwani, 31, a reporter for a local television station and an Urdu language newspaper, was shot multiple times by an unknown gunman while having his hair cut at a barber shop on March 18, said Ashiq Mirani, the area police chief.
Lalwani died later that day in a hospital, Mirani said.
Mirani said Lalwani was associated with the local Royal News television station and a newspaper, but that it wasn't immediately clear if he was killed because of his “professional duties."
“We are looking into all aspects of the matter, collecting evidence from the scene and recording statements from witnesses to pinpoint the cause of the offense,” he said.
The officer said witnesses saw a single gunman open fire on Lalwani but that other assailants could have been involved.
The Committee to Protect Journalists condemned the incident and demanded the culprits be brought to justice.
“Police in Sindh Province must waste no time investigating the killing of journalist Ajay Lalwani and apprehending those responsible,” said Steven Butler, CPJ’s Asia program coordinator. “It’s critical that the investigation be led by officers who are able to maintain public confidence, given the long history of tensions between local journalists and the police in Sukkur.”
Pakistan has long been a deadly country for journalists. In 2020, it ranked ninth on the CPJ’s annual Global Impunity Index, which assesses countries where journalists are murdered regularly and their killers go free, with 15 unsolved murders.