Security problem forces journalists to leave South Waziristan -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Security problem forces journalists to leave South Waziristan

Behroz Khan
PESHAWAR, January 19 2006: Journalists working with electronic and print media have left South Waziristan agency due to security concerns.

The situation in the adjoining North Waziristan agency is almost the same as the community is sandwiched between the respective administrations and militants for reporting about the situation. At present, not a single notable journalist staying in Wana, headquarters of South Waziristan or other parts of the troubled tribal region due to threats and attacks on their houses and offices by suspected militants and groups over the past few months.

Two journalists, Amir Nawab Wazir and Allah Noor Wazir have been killed in Wana about six months back while one Anwar Shakir was seriously injured. No group has accepted responsibility for the attack on the vehicle carrying these journalists, who were returning to the main town after attending a ceremony in which an anti-government local Taliban commander, Baitullah Mehsud, announced not to attack government installations and work for restoration of peace in the area.

As many as 10 journalists working for national and international media organisations have shifted to Dera Ismail Khan – some with their families. The journalists have been forced by the circumstances to desert their native towns and villages due to attacks on their houses, offices and vehicles by hostile groups and individuals.

“We are even threatened in DI Khan and there is no guarantee that we will not be harmed in case we continue to do reporting on the activities of the militant groups and the role of the administration,” said one journalist on condition of anonymity for security reasons.

Some groups have distributed pamphlets in Tank, adjacent to DI Khan, asking the people not to deal in un-Islamic electronic gadgets and CDs, otherwise, the responsibility would lie with the violators of their orders.

The militants threaten the journalists because they (the militant groups) are against reporting about target killings of pro-government tribal chieftains and the bodies of militants brought to the agency from the other side of the Pak-Afghan border after they die in fighting. The agency administration also disliked reporting of any happening, which bring them and their inactivity to the limelight.

In North Waziristan, two journalists have been offered government jobs and posted against lucrative positions in the political administration, while one journalist, Hayatullah Khan, is still missing despite the lapse of more than a month.

President of the agency chapter of the of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-F, Maulana Abdur Rehman, told a Jirga in Miranshah a week ago that only the journalist community was responsible for the unrest and violence in the tribal region.

“No body can dare report about the killing of tribesmen inside Afghanistan. As many as 13 bodies have been brought to South Waziristan during the previous month,” confided a journalist. A local named Mushkalam Mehsud, 45, died as a suicide bomber in Helmand province of Afghanistan and was belonging to Dela Khunkhela area of South Waziristan agency.

In Bajaur agency, the administration either restricted the movement of the journalists to report about the US missiles attack on Damadola village killing 18 people or forfeited the tapes and cameras when journalists reached there to film the destroyed houses and a seminary. Two journalists were detained for some time as well.
Source: The News
Date:1/19/2006