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Alleged killers of Balochistan journalist and his colleagues apprehended

This statement was originally published on pakistanpressfoundation.org on 3 September 2015.

Pakistan's law enforcement agencies succeeded in their efforts and have arrested the alleged killers of Baloch journalist Irshad Mastoi and two of his colleagues.

During a 2 September 2015 press conference at the Home Ministry, Balochistan Home Minister Mir Safaraz Bugti informed media that the apprehended individuals had confessed to the 2014 killing of journalists in Quetta, capital of Balochistan province. He further stated the suspects belonged to the banned Baloch Liberation Army (BLA).

He identified the killers as Shafqat Ali Rodani, whose code name is Naveed, and Ibrahim Nachari, code name Shah Jee. They were also allegedly involved in 31 cases of terrorist attacks, targeted killings, bomb blasts and other criminal activities.

In their confession statement, they gave details of the murder plot and objectives. According to Shafqat Ali, Ustad Aslam - code name Aucho - was the mastermind behind the plot and Sohail Marri the facilitator.

Shafqat Ali said they walked into the Online office and he opened fire on Mastoi; two other men at the office tried to stop him and he fired at them as well.

In his confession, Shafqat Ali also revealed that his group wanted to use the killing as part of their strategy at the UN and other forums against intelligence agencies.

Background

On 28 August, 2014, at about 7:45 pm armed men barged into the office of news agency Online and opened fire on Irshad Mastoi, Abdul Rasool and Muhammad Younas. Mastoi was critically injured as a result and his colleagues died on the spot. Mastoi was immediately taken to hospital but later succumbed to his wounds.

According to details, a firing incident took place inside Kabirwala Building located at the Jinnah Road, Quetta, a crowd and high security zone and the assailants managed to escape unhurt from the spot.

Mastoi was Bureau Chief of the Online news agency, assignment editor of ARY News and also general secretary of the Balochistan Union of Journalists.

Abdul Rasool was a final year student in Mass Communication at Balochistan University. He had completed a three-month internship at the news agency and was working as a reporter.

Mohammad Younis had been serving as an accountant in the news agency for a number of years.

The Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists, Quetta Press Club, Balochistan Union of Journalists, other journalists unions and even leaders of political parties had voiced their condemnation of the killing and demanded the arrest of the culprits.

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