Rabia Mehmood In conversation with Raza Rumi
Also Read: Escaping death in the Land of the Pure
Over the last five years, reporting on sensitive issues has put journalists under extreme threat in Pakistan. Ranked at number nine on the Committee to Protect Journalists’ impunity index in 2014, and number 158 in the World Press Freedom index for 2014; Pakistan’s status as one of the world’s most dangerous countries for journalists has been reinforced this year after high-profile attacks on leading anchor persons and mainstream media groups.
One such journalist, who survived a targeted attack on his life, is Raza Rumi. A former director of Jinnah Institute, Rumi is editor at The Friday Times and a talk show host with Express News. 20 days after Rumi was attacked, Hamid Mir, a senior talk show host was targeted in Karachi.
So far, we have read about the attempt on your life through news reports. Why do you think you were targeted?
It is difficult to ascertain exactly why I was attacked. What is clear is that my vigorous defence of Pakistan’s endangered minorities got me into trouble, and led to this deadly attack. Extremist discourse is so widespread that anyone who defends the rights of Shias, Ahmadis, Christians and Hindus is viewed as an “apostate”. And for many the punishment for apostasy is death. The charge sheet is rather long but I’d rather leave it for you to think about.