Age of victim:
Date of incident: 2019-08-30
Incident Description: Shot dead
Organisation: 92 News
Location: Gujrat , Punjab
Cause of Death: Targeted murder
Summary of case
On August 30, 2019, a correspondent for TV channel 92 News, Mirza Waseem Baig, was shot dead in Puran village in the Sara-i-Alamgir Saddar police precinct in Punjab province's Gujrat district.
According to 92 News, attackers opened fire on Baig in front of his residence and he received six bullet wounds as a result. Baig was then shifted to a hospital where he passed away. The assailants escaped and police started an investigation into the incident. According to Dawn, the incident occurred at the entrance of Baig’s residence.
Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar took notice of the murder and sought a report from the Gujrat District Police Officer.
Before he was killed, Baig had been reporting on local gangs in the Sara-i-Alamgir town. Several who knew Baig as well as those investigating the murder have said Baig was targeted due to the nature of his reporting.
A police officer in charge of the investigation into Baig’s death, Ameer Abbas, told PPF that the journalist was killed as he was covering the activities of a criminal gang specialising in extortion. Abbas said the slain journalist had done several reports about the gang and that the reporting “annoyed them”. Abbas added that Baig had also informed the police about who all were part of the gang.
Additionally, a former president of the Gujrat Press Club who is a senior journalist in Gujrat has also said that the reason behind Baig’s murder was his coverage of the criminal gang.
Baig’s daughter Ghania Malik told PPF that in July 2019, her father had told her: “My life is in danger.”
Recalling his death, she said all members of the family were home when her father went outside to park a car and they suddenly heard the sound of gunshots. They ran outside and saw three people escaping from the area, with her father lying on the ground. She said a police van was approximately one kilometre away from their residence but reached the scene 45 minutes later.
Malik said she was not completely satisfied with the investigation into her father’s murder.
Baig’s wife, Safia Waseem, also confirmed the same to Reporters Without Borders. She said she and her family had been forced to move to a safer location after receiving threats in the wake of Baig’s murder.
On September 23, police claimed it had killed a “notorious outlaw” allegedly involved in Baig’s death.
Police said a suspect, identified as Rafique, was killed in an encounter near the Rakh Pubbi Sarkar area along GT Road, Kharian, whereas one of his accomplices was arrested after sustaining injuries in the shootout.
The police said the injured suspect told investigators that Baig was gunned down by his accomplice Rafique who had been killed in the encounter with police. Rafique was wanted in a number of cases, including murder and attempted murder, police have claimed.
Rafique's body was shifted to Kharian Tehsil Headquarters Hospital and the injured suspect was also admitted there.
Investigation Officer Abbas told PPF that the case was in process at the Sara-i-Alamgir Session Court.
Was case investigated: Yes
Name of accused in FIR: Unidentified
Was FIR registered: Yes
Status of court case: -
Attack suspected by: Wanted criminal Rafique and accomplices
Court where case was presented: Sara-i-Alamgir Session Court