Afghan journalist shot dead in Khyber
By Ashrafuddin Pirzada
LANDIKOTAL: Unidentified gunmen shot dead Afghan journalist Janullah Hashimzada in the Jamrud area in Khyber Agency on Monday when he was on his way to Peshawar from Afghanistan.
He was travelling in a passenger coach (P-0123) to Peshawar to reach his home in Hayatabad when four gunmen, driving a white colour car, intercepted the vehicle in the Surkamar area on the highway linking Pakistan to Afghanistan.
Driver of the coach Abbas said the four gunmen came out of their car and forced him and the cleaner to disembark. “Then, two gunmen entered the coach and shot Janullah in the forehead four times, killing him on the spot,” he said.
Another passenger, Ali, also an Afghan national, sustained bullet injuries and was shifted to the Hayatabad Medical Complex in Peshawar in a serious condition. In the morning, Janullah had crossed over to Pakistan at Torkham after a visit to Afghanistan. He had then boarded the passenger coach to Peshawar.
Based in Peshawar, Janullah used to frequently visit Afghanistan to meet his family members and relatives in his native Nangarhar province and also in connection with his professional obligations. He had been working for a number of Pakistani, Afghan, Western and Arabic media organisations. He was affiliated with the Pashto daily Wahdat in Peshawar for years.
At present, he was the bureau chief in Pakistan for Afghanistan’s Pashto TV channel, Shamshad. He was also working for the CNN, Al-Arabia, CNBC, Associated Press and other media organisations.
According to his younger brother Aziz Hashimzada, their family had no enmity with anybody. “It was a targeted killing,” he told reporters at the Civil Hospital, Jamrud, where Janullah’s body was brought for autopsy before being sent to Afghanistan for burial.
Janullah spoke Pashto, Persian, Urdu, Arabic and English. He was known in journalistic circles of Peshawar and elsewhere in Pakistan. He reportedly had received threats in the past. His death was widely mourned in both Afghanistan and Pakistan and demands were made for apprehending and punishing the killers.
The Khyber Union of Journalists (KhUJ) and the Peshawar Press Club (PPC) have condemned Janullah’s killing and demanded of the government to bring the killers to book.
In a joint statement, KhUJ President Muhammad Riaz, General Secretary Yousuf Ali, PPC President Shamim Shahid and General Secretary Muhammad Ali Khan said the government had failed to protect the working journalists. They urged the government to take measures for the protection of media persons.
The KhUJ and the PPC expressed their concern over the failure of the government in tracking down the killers of Hayatullah, Musa Khankhel and other journalists. Some of Janullah’s journalist colleagues pointed out that he was a critic of the Taliban. However, he maintained contacts with the Afghan Taliban and once arranged an interview of Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid with the CNN.
Source: The News