12 journalists killed, several kidnapped in NWFP, Fata -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

12 journalists killed, several kidnapped in NWFP, Fata

Javed Aziz Khan

PESHAWAR: The NWFP and Fata have turned into the most insecure areas in the world for media men, many of whom have been killed while several others have either been kidnapped or their families were attacked and houses demolished.

Janullah Hashimzada, an Afghan journalist based in Peshawar, proved to be the latest victim when he was shot in head in Jamrud sub-division of Khyber Agency while returning in a passenger coach from Afghanistan on August 24.

He was associated with an Afghan television, a local Pashto daily “Wahdat” and various international media organisations.

Around 12 other journalists were killed. Many others came under attack, kidnapped, their houses demolished and their family members murdered. Musa Khankhel, correspondent of The News and Geo in Swat, was killed by unidentified people after he was picked up while returning home after covering a march by the activists of Tanzim Nifaze Shariat-e-Mohammadi (TNSM) in February last.

Another journalist of Swat Mohammad Shoaib was shot dead by the security forces for reported violation of curfew. He was taking his daughter to hospital when met the tragedy. Abdul Aziz Shaheen, a journalist in the scenic Swat valley, was caught by shelling on a Taliban base camp where he had gone to get his vehicle back snatched by Taliban.

The fourth journalist of Swat killed during the ongoing violence was Sirajuddin, who was killed while attending the funeral prayer of DSP Javed Iqbal. The DSP was killed in a remote-controlled blast in Lakki Marwat. A suicide bomber blew himself up in the funeral of the DSP at his hometown, Mingora, to kill over 60 people and injured hundreds of others in February 2008.

Mohammad Ibrahim Jan of Bajaur Agency was returning home after interviewing Taliban spokesman Maulvi Omar when ambushed by armed men. Another media person of the area Dr Noor Hakeem fell victim to a roadside bomb that hit his car while accompanying a polio vaccination team on June 2, 2006.

The Darra Adamkhel Press Club leader Naseer Ahmad was shot dead by unidentified people in the nearby tribal town in December 2005. The murder of Hayatullah, a journalist based in North Waziristan was the most complex matter as he remained missing for over six months before his handcuffed and chained body was recovered in June 2006.

He was kidnapped on December 5 after covering a demonstration against the US. The first case of attack on journalist in South Waziristan was reported on February 7, 2005 when Allah Noor Wazir of AVT Khyber and Ameer Nawab of APTN were ambushed by gunmen while returning to their offices after attending a peace agreement between the local militants and government.

Two journalists of Dera Ismail Khan, Tahir Awan and Mohammad Imran, both associated with local newspapers, also fell victims to the violence during last year. They were killed during a suicide blast in the town last year.

The house of a senior journalist and correspondent of the Geo News, Behroz Khan, was also torched two months back in Buner, a few days after militants damaged the house of another media man, Rahman Buneri. The houses of Islamuddin Sajid, Shanawaz Tarakai were also partially damaged in different incidents. The house of Sherinzada was attacked in Swat in which his sister was killed.

There are still threats to the lives, properties and families of several journalists of NWFP and Fata who are discharging their duties in a war zone without any protection by the government or their media organizations.
Source: The News