Murder of a citizen journalist

The unfortunate murder of Anwar Khetran served two purposes. First, he was killed so that a vocal opponent of the tribal elite of Barkhan was eliminated. Second, the more sinister intent behind this killing was to spread fear among all other citizen journalists and to give them a message that if they criticize the powerful tribal chiefs and political players, then they will not be spared. The failure of the provincial government to protect its citizens has further exacerbated this fear. However, the strong response shown by the civil society not only in Quetta but also in Barkhan means that this act has failed to infuse fear in people. It is being reported that the campaign of justice for Anwar Khetran will intensify in the coming days.

The opposition in Balochistan has once again disappointed the masses. Opposition parties have not raised significant voices on this case and they are more interested in getting a stay order on the Public Sector Development Program (PSDP) from Balochistan High Court. The indifference of the political opposition has shifted the leadership role in such a crisis to the leaderless civil society of the province which is doing a far better job compared to the opposition.

The government of Balochistan must fulfil its constitutional role of safeguarding the right to life. A person who criticizes the political elite of the province must feel safe and the government needs to take action to ensure that. Taking exemplary action against the murderers of Anwar Jan can be the first step in this direction.

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