Journalist critical of Taliban killed

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Janullah Hashimzada, the bureau chief based in Peshawar for Afghanistan’s Shamshad Television, was shot to death while travelling back from Afghanistan on a minibus near Jamrud in the northwestern Khyber district of Pakistan on 24 August, 2009.

Operating in plain view, three masked men opened fire with pistols on the minibus, killing Hashimzada instantly and wounding his colleague, Ali Khan.

“This was purely a targeted killing,” Shamim Shahid, president of the Peshawar Press Club.

Hashimzada “was very critical of the Taliban, and some of his reporting was unacceptable both to the Pakistani and Afghan governments and intelligence agencies. He had too much information regarding the militants, the Taliban and the intelligence agencies,” Shahid added.

Hashimzada worked for several Afghan and Pakistani news media, including the Afghan independent news agency Pajhwok and the Pashtun newspapers “Vahdat” and “Sahar”.

Friends said he covered sensitive issues and had been subjected to threats and pressure during the past three weeks to abandon his journalistic work and leave Peshawar.

Pakistan’s restive northwest has grown as a militant stronghold since 2001 following the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan. Taliban militants and security forces, warring for control of the seven tribal agencies in the semi-autonomous Federally Administered Tribal Areas, pose a threat to reporters, say CPJ and PPF.

“Journalists in the conflict zones of Pakistan and Afghanistan will remain desperately insecure unless our governments develop concrete plans for their safety and bring to justice those who murder, kidnap and injure journalists with impunity,” said Owais Aslam Ali of PPF.

By: Pakistan Press Foundation

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Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF) is an independent media research, documentation and training centre working to promote and defend freedom of press.. Follow us on Twitter / Facebook.

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