By Aamir Latif
Journalists and civil society members across Pakistan held rallies on Monday to protest the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Carrying banners plastered with Khashoggi’s face and chanting slogans, journalists held rallies and demonstrations in capital Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore, Multan, Gujranwala, Faisalabad, Sukkur, and other cities on a call of Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) -- an umbrella organization of several journalist unions.
Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist, was killed shortly after he entered the Saudi Consulate General in Istanbul Oct. 2.
Saudi Arabia had offered shifting explanations for Khashoggi's disappearance before suggesting he was killed during a botched operation by rogue agents.
His body has yet to be returned to his family amid reports that it was chemically dissolved.
In Karachi, a large number of journalists carrying banners and placards with slogans against Khashoggi’s murder held a protest demonstration outside Karachi Press Club.
Addressing the demonstration, PFUJ General Secretary, G.M Jamali termed Khashoggi’s murder “vicious”, and another sequel of an ongoing campaign to gag free press in several countries.
“We will not let this issue go down the drain. The world in general and the journalist fraternity in particular are shocked over the ruthless murder of Khashoggi, and dismemberment of his body. This is simply inhuman,” Jamali said.
“It has never happened in the world that a journalist is invited to a consulate and brutally murdered,”Jamali said, adding: "We strongly demand that Saudi government fulfill its promise for a fair investigation and bring the murderers to justice.”
He further said that the "Zionist state" had let lose a reign of terror against journalists who were exposing its crimes against humanity.
Condemning Khashoggi’s murder, Karachi Union of Journalists (KUJ) head Tariq Abul Hassan hailed the Turkish government for wisely handling and keeping the issue alive despite all odds.
“This [Khashoggi’s murder] is not an issue between some countries. Rather, it is the matter of life and death for the journalist community as if the murderers are given a safe passage, it will pave the way for more state-sponsored violence against journalists across the world,” he went on to say.
Welcoming Riyad’s assurance that it will bring Khashoggi’s killers to justice, he said: “ There must be a logical conclusion of the ongoing investigation into Khashoggi’s murder. We want the real culprits behind his murder be held accountable.”
In Lahore, the protest demonstration was held outside Lahore Press Club.
A protest rally was also taken out from National Press Club in Islamabad.