Taliban threaten tribal journalists in leaflets distributed in South Waziristan
ISLAMABAD: Pakistani Taliban militants have distributed pamphlets in parts of South Waziristan tribal region, issuing threats to media persons in the area.
The distribution of pamphlets again highlights the dangers to the lives of the tribal journalists and the freedom of expression in South Waziristan, the birthplace of the banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).
At least four journalists have been killed only in South Waziristan while two in North Waziristan over the past several years. Several journalists have also been killed in other tribal regions in the line of their duties. Many have been forced to move to other cities.
“The media representatives in Wana, South Waziristan, are our target because of their false reports,” the Taliban leaflet said.
The Pashto-language statements, distributed in crowded Rustam Bazaar of Wana, alleged that the correspondents are “preparing reports on the instructions by a government official.” The sad aspect of the tragedy is that the government and the local authorities have not investigated the murder of the tribal journalists.
“We, the Taliban, consider it amounting to espionage,” said the leaflet by the Tehreek-e-Taliban South Waziristan, adding that the Taliban do not want media persons in South Waziristan.
Local journalists in Wana say the local political administration has also threatened the correspondents. A senior official of the local political administration had told a tribal Jirga that some local correspondents are “filing wrong reports.”
The Taliban’s pamphlet referred to a recent speech by Assistant Political Agent Niaz Muhammad Ahmadzai to the tribal gathering in which he mentioned some journalists who, according to him, are not filing true reports.
Correspondents in Wana and other parts of South Waziristan have expressed serious concern at the threats to them by the Taliban and the local administration.
Former president of Wana Press Club Shahzadeen Wazir says the journalists will hold the local political administration responsible if anything happens to them.
He urged the federal government and the KP governor to take note of the growing threats to the journalists at a time when efforts are underway to introduce reforms in the tribal regions.