A private media outlet’s reporter, Aziz Memon, who exposed train march of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) chief Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari from March 2019, has allegedly been murdered weeks after claiming that his life was at risk amid threats from workers and leaders of Sindh’s ruling party.
As per the details, Memon, who was a resident of Mehrabpur city and an employee of Kawish Television Network (KTN) as well as Sindhi daily Kawish, was on Sunday found in Gaddo Branch Canal with a wire wrapped around his neck, showing signs of strangulation.
Family sources said that the deceased had asked his cameraman to drop him at a ceremony in Behlani village, and later, villagers spotted his body floating in the canal. While local police did not rule out foul play, the doctor, who conducted his autopsy, said he could not confirm if Memon was strangled to death.
With the death drawing strong reactions from the journalist community — Association of Electronic Media Editors and News Directors among other local and national media bodies condemning the alleged murder and continued acts of violence against journalists to silence the voice of dissent –, veteran journalist Hamid Mir took to Twitter and revealed one of the recent threats of dire consequences received by Memon.
“This is Aziz Memon KTN reporter from Mehrabpur Sindh he recorded this video message some time ago and informed that his life was under threat because some PPP leaders were angry with him due to his reporting he was brutally killed 2day near his home [sic],” he tweeted along with a video message by Memon wherein he was heard sharing how he and his loved ones were in danger.
In a subsequent tweet, Mir said that the “slain” journalist was receiving threats of dire consequences for his report claiming that the PPP had paid women to participate in Bilawal’s train march.
PPP chief Bilawal had in March 2019 launched the first phase of his party’s anti-government march by train — “Karavan-e-Bhutto” — from Karachi to Larkana.
On the way, the PPP chairman had addressed party supporters and activists at a number of railway stations, including Landhi in Karachi, Jung Shahi in Thatta, Kotri in Jamshoro, Odero Lal in Matiari, Tando Adam, Shahdadpur and Nawabshah.
The train had passed Daur, Padidan, Mihrabpur, Bhirya Road, Khairpur Miris, Rohri, Sukkur, Habib Kot, Gosri, Madeji and Sir Shahnawaz Bhutto to finally reach Larkana, with a large number of people — many of whom according to Memon’s report were paid to join — welcoming the caravan at every stop.
While Sindh Chief Minister (CM) Syed Murad Ali Shah has reportedly taken notice of the alleged murder of the 56-year-old journalist and directed the authorities concerned to ensure immediate arrest of the killers, The Current reached out to Sindh government spokesperson and adviser to CM on law, Barrister Murtaza Wahab, for a comment on claims regarding his party workers or leaders’ alleged involvement in Memon’s death.
Condemning the death, Murtaza offered his condolences to the bereaved family and rejected the allegations levelled against the PPP leadership. “There is no truth these claims,” he said, adding that a thorough investigation will be launched into Memon’s death and the culprits would be brought to justice at all costs.