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Journalist found dead after revealing tribal marriage customs

Published on Friday 14 May 2010.
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Reporters Without Borders voiced its dismay today after journalist Ghulam Rasool Birhamani was found dead in Sindh province in the south-east of the country on 10 May 2010.

Several journalists in the region told the worldwide press freedom organisation that they believed his death could have been linked to an article he had written about a forced marriage within the Lashari tribe.

He is the fourth journalist to be killed in Pakistan in 2010 and the second this year in Sindh province.

Ghulam Rasool Birhamani, who worked for Sindhi-language newspaper Sindhu in the Dadu district, was found by police early in the morning with fatal head injuries. A medical superintendent at the Johi Taluka hospital also found marks of torture on his body. The journalist had been reported missing the previous evening.

Birhamani had just written about the marriage of a young woman of 20 to a boy of ten, both members of the Lashari tribe. Some tribes in Sindh province arrange such marriages to settle disputes. President of the Dadu press club, Ghulam Bhind, said that the journalist had received threats from tribal members.

“It is deeply shocking that a journalist could be killed like this because he dared to criticise certain customs and to expose tribal or family rivalries”, Reporters Without Borders said. “We support the various local organisations for the defence of journalists who have expressed their grief and solidarity after this vile murder and we call for a rigorous investigation to quickly find those responsible.”

The secretary general of the Wahi Pandhi press club in Dadu district, Aman Birhamani said that local press clubs and journalists organisations had staged a protest march after the killing and would hold seven days of mourning in tribute to their colleague.

The Sindh government “must take serious notice of this gruesome killing of Ghulam Rasool Birhamani and measures (should) be taken for immediate arrest of killers and they be given exemplary punishment”, said the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ).

The journalist, who was in his 30’s, contributed to several Sindhi-language dailies. He leaves a wife, a daughter and two sons.

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