Fear of violence lingers ahead of Pakistani elections

Mar 21, 2013

In the past decade, Pakistan’s media has become larger, more powerful and more independent. The number of private television channels has grown from just three state-run channels in 2000 to 89 in 2012. But the challenges to practicing journalism are also growing.

The Committee to Protect Journalists reports that so far this year, more reporters have been killed in Pakistan than any other country. The economy is faltering, and militant violence is spreading.

Now, Pakistan is about to make political history. The democratically elected government stepped down at the end of its five-year term last weekend. And elections are scheduled to take place in May. This could mark the first transfer of power from one democratic government to another elected government.  

To learn more about the state of journalism in Pakistan, Global Journalist spoke to two television correspondents and a bureau chief working in the country. The three are visiting the Missouri School of Journalism as part of a cultural exchange program sponsored by the East West Center.


Nisar Ali Khokhar, Special Correspondent, KTN News TV

Sana Saif Tirmazee, Reporter, Dawnnews TV

Shahid Hameed Rind, Bureau Chief, ARY News

On the dangers in Baluchistan

In Pakistan, especially in Baluchistan, the big issue is intolerance. There are two types of movements going on in Baluchistan. One is a nationalistic movement, and the other is religious extremism. Because of this, journalists are in the line of fire, or soft targets...We are facing lots of threats. More than 30 journalists [have bee] targeted in Baluchistan.  --Shahid Hameed Rind

On upcoming elections in Pakistan

There is a great fear of these elections being extremely violent and there are fears of bloodshed, especially in Karachi, Quetta and Pershawar. But the hope is that sense prevails, the process gets completed and a new democratic government is elected. --Sana Saif Tirmazee