Arshad Sharif’s murder shook up the journalist community and the country as a whole. The news analyst had a vast experience in investigative journalism and was working with one of the best news channels in Pakistan. Due to some controversial remarks in his show, the channel distanced itself from this senior journalist. Sharif had been on the run for quite some time. According to reports he went to the UAE and was told to leave as the authorities were asked to get him out of the country. He also stayed in the UK for a while but had to leave due to the lack of a visa. He ended up in Kenya, which is a visa-free country for Pakistan, and this is where he was shot dead. This tragic news has fired up some controversies. Some blame the institution against whom the slain anchor spoke, while others blame the incumbent government for having a fair share in the killing. Yet another group believes that it was, in reality, a mistake made by the Keynian police of firing at the wrong vehicle. Whatever the reason behind this murder, it has become evident that journalists are not safe.
Before Arshad Sharif, the Jamal Khashoggi case garnered international attention as he was butchered to death allegedly by the rulers of his own country. The man had taken refuge elsewhere in the world as he was unsafe in his own country. It can only be hoped that Sharif was not killed on similar grounds. Although violence against journalists has decreased over the years, Pakistan still ranks 145th in the Press Freedom Index. This is an extremely poor ranking as it shows that in this country, the press cannot express its views freely and is always bound to follow some unwritten rules, otherwise, it will face dire consequences. Those who dare to speak up against the status quo are harassed and hounded to an extent that they have to leave the country and seek refuge elsewhere. Even in those countries, they are unsafe. The third world is a dangerous place. All those who have dissenting opinions here are crushed in one way or another. Some are taught lessons through intimidation, some lose their jobs, while others lose their lives. Journalists have to be extra cautious so that they don’t anger someone who can cause any harm to them. Some, however, are so passionate about their work that they forget about their safe and security and embark on the road that leads them towards the truth so that they can uncover it for others.
It is the state’s job to provide security and safety to its citizens and journalists are, like everyone else, citizens. They should not be hunted down just because they have dissenting opinions. A society can only truly progress once people are allowed to think critically. This means they are allowed to criticize those in power without having to fear about their lives.