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Monday, 10 October 2011

Another Journalist Killed in Pakistan

Violence against Reporters Shows no Sign of Abating 

By: Barbara Trionfi

Supporters of the Muthedda Quami Movement (MQM) flash victory signs as they hold a poster of their leader Altaf Hussain during a workers convention in Karachi on September 6, 2002. REUTERS/Zahid Hussein ZH/WS

VIENNA, 10 Oct. 2011 - Pakistani journalist Faisal Qureshi, web editor of The London Post, a London-based news portal that covers Pakistan affairs, was found dead by his brother Zahid Qureshi and cousin Shahzad Qureshi at 2 am on 7 October. The body showed signs of torture and the journalist's throat was slit.

Zahid Qureshi said he called his brother several times on his mobile telephone and became suspicious when he noticed that his phone was switched off. Both the mobile telephone and the lap-top of Faisal Qureshi were missing from his apartment.

"We are extremely concerned about the ongoing violence against journalists in Pakistan, which threatens to further compromise the country's already dire press freedom situation," said IPI Executive Director Alison Bethel McKenzie. "We express our condolences to the family and colleagues of Faisal Qureshi."

The body was found in an apartment in Lahore's Johar Town area, where Faisal Qureshi had recently moved after receiving death threats, the Italian ANSA news agency reported.

Observers are concerned that Faisal Qureshi's murder may be in connection with an article recently published by The London Post about the leader of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), Altaf Hussain, who allegedly escaped to South Africa. Following publication of the article, Faisal Qureshi received death threats over the telephone by men who identified themselves as members of the MQM, Faisal's brother Shahid Qureshi told The Express Tribune.

Five journalists have already been killed in Pakistan because of their profession since the beginning of 2011. According to IPI's Death Watch, Pakistan is the Asian country with the highest number of journalist killings so far this year, followed by the Philippines and Afghanistan with three and two  killings respectively.