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Impunity reigns in Pakistani reporter's murder, eyewitness killed

(CPJ/IFEX) - 16 November 2012 - The following is a CPJ Blog post by Sumit Galhotra:

Haider Ali, an eyewitness to the 2011 murder of Geo TV reporter Wali Khan Babar, was gunned down on Sunday, two days before he was set to testify in the trial of five suspects. The murder sent shockwaves across Pakistan - one of the deadliest countries in the world for journalists and one of the worst in bringing the killers to justice. According to the prosecutor in the case, Ali had identified several suspects as being involved in Babar's murder in a recent statement before a judicial magistrate. His killing was the latest in a series of murders that have targeted people linked to the Babar investigation. Five others - including eyewitnesses, police officers, an informant, and a family member of an investigator - have also been murdered.

In response, the Sindh High Court ordered that security be provided to lawyers and witnesses in the case. That security has not actually been deployed, however, according to local media reports. "The point is that the government doesn't provide protection to witnesses, even in such important cases," said Azhar Abbas, managing director of Geo TV. "Ali was moved to a different location within Karachi-a dangerous city as is. That simply is not enough. He was provided no security personnel."

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