Shaheena Shaheen
Shaheena Shaheen Image Credit: Twitter

Shaheena Shaheen was a young female journalist working against the odds in the highly conservative province of Balochistan in Pakistan. On the evening of September 5, “unknown” men shot her dead, and the incident has caused an uproar online. From fellow media professionals to female rights activists, netizens are demanding justice, while police are on the hunt for her husband.

The incident occurred in the Turbat area of Balochistan's Kech district, according to Pakistani media reports.

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Shaheen, aged around 25 years, was a local anchorperson at state-owned broadcaster Pakistan Television Corporation (PTV) and editor of a local magazine. She was also a student of fine arts at the University Of Balochistan, local media outlets reported.

Sharing pictures of Shaheen at an art gallery and at work, Twitter user @Alhaan_ posted: “Shaheena Shaheen Baloch a journalist, an artist, always struggling for women’s rights and empowerment unfortunately shot dead in Turbat Balochistan.”

Police said unidentified suspects opened fire on Shaheen at her residence in Turbat. The killers reportedly escaped unhurt from the scene.

She was shifted to District Headquarters (DHQ) Hospital Turbat where she succumbed to her injuries. She received three bullet wounds, a police official, Allah Bakhsh, told a local newspaper.

"The killing was the result of domestic violence," Kech Superintendent of Police Najeebullah Pandrani was quoted as saying, adding that police were investigating the murder.

He said no arrests had been made so far. However, Shaheen's family lodged a first information report (FIR) against her husband, whom she married five months ago.

According to some reports, one of the men who attacked her was her husband. Media reports suggest the incident can be a case of honour killing. Reportedly, Shaheen’s husband had asked her to stop working and disapproved of the fame she was receiving due to her job.

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Condemning the incident and demanding justice, tweep @BanariMengal wrote: “As per some reports Shaheena Shaheen Baloch’s murder is an act of ‘honour killing’. Men only see honour when a woman is assertive, independent and hurts their fragile egos. Shaheena’s case should be investigated, and if this is a case of ’honour killing’ no one should stay silent.”

In another post, @BanariMengal wrote: “Deeply saddened to hear that Journalist Shaheena Shaheen Baloch has been killed in Turbat. Another day, another brutal murder. We are tired of using hashtags. There is no justice - never will be. Balochistan is not safe for anyone nor does anyone care.”

Shaheen’s body was shifted to her residence for burial, according to police, local media reported.

Balochistan government spokesman Liaquat Shahwani and Finance Minister Mir Zahoor Ahmed Buledi separately condemned the murder. They said the culprits in the case will be brought to book, as per Pakistani news outlets.

According to latest reports, police are still on the search for Shaheen’s husband.