May 17th, 2010
Pakistan journalist apparently killed for reporting on tribal practices
By Dan Kubiske
Twenty-first century reporting and 12th century rituals often clash. And in Pakistan this clash has led to the death of another journalist.
Journalist found dead after revealing tribal marriage customs
Reporters Without Borders reports the death of Ghulam Rasool Birhamani, who worked for Sindhi-language newspaper Sindhu in the Dadu district.
Birhamani had just completed an article about the marriage of a 20-year-old woman to a 10-year-old boy. Arranged marriages such as this, are a tradition among the tribes in Sindh province to settle disputes.
The journalists received threats from tribal members following the publishing of his article. Within days Birhamani was reported missing. He was then found with torture marks on his body and fatal head injuries.
He is the second journalist killed in Sindh province this year and the fourth in the country.
Shamsul Isam Naz, secretary general of the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists, told the International Press Institute there was no doubt Birhamani was killed because of his reporting.
“He was killed because the influential persons of the area did not like his reporting on women’s rights and the empowerment of women,” he said.
“He was threatened quite a few times.”
According to the Pakistan Press Foundation, Birhamani had received threats some days before to the kidnapping after he reported on the underage marriage of a girl from the Lashari tribe.
So, besides the dangers of being killed during battles with the Taliban or in terrorists attacks, Pakistan’s journalists also have to be watchful of groups not interested in entering the 21st Century.
I wonder, however, why we are not seeing reporting in the Western media about not only the threats to Pakistan’s journalists but also about these tribal issues. Surely this type of tribal arrogance and exercise of intimidation is just as important to understanding the war against terrorism as looking up the background of a kid who lived in Connecticut who locked himself out of his own car.
First posted at Journalism, Journalists and the World.