PPF remembers Ayub Khan Khattaq on his eighth death anniversary – a journalist who lost life for his reporting

The death of Karak Times reporter Ayub Khan Khattak on October 11, 2013 is one of the rare cases of a journalists murder that resulted in a court sentencing those behind the attack. Looking back at the incident that resulted in Khattak’s death and the case that followed, Pakistan Press Foundation pays tribute to the late journalist.

On October 11, 2013, Khattak was shot dead outside his home by two gunmen in Karak district of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

The gunmen, waiting on a motorcycle, opened fire on Khattak as he was returning home with his son at around six in the evening after offering prayers. He died on the spot and the attackers fled the scene.

A First Information Report (FIR) [criminal report] was registered by Khattak’s son, Shams-ur-Rehman, who was an eyewitness of his father’s killing. The FIR was registered against Aminullah and Hub-e-Niaz.

According to Head Muharrar Nasir Iqbal on March 16, 2016, Karak District and Sessions Court Judge Syed Kamal Hussain Shah had convicted Aminullah for Khattak’s murder and sentenced him to life imprisonment and a fine of Rs500,000. The co-accused, Hub-e-Niaz, Aminullah’s brother, was acquitted due to a lack of evidence.

Later, Aminullah was also granted bail. However, he was killed by unidentified gunmen on a roadside while he was on bail.

Khattak’s brother Mukhtiar Khan said that the accused had killed his brother because they were involved in drug dealing that he had reported on. He added that the accused had previously also issued death threats to Khattak.

He expressed dissatisfaction over the court’s decision and wanted to challenge the verdict in the Peshawar High Court because they believed that the accused deserved the death sentence.

Khyber Union of Journalists (KUJ) President Malick Arshad told PPF that Khattak published news against the drug mafia which could be the reason for his killing as the accused were involved in many cases of robberies and the drug trade.

The inspector of Latamber Police Station, where the murder case was filed, Muhammad Aslam Khattak, said that both the accused were caught in a robbery case a few days earlier and were later released on bail. Khattak published the story in his newspaper which could have been the cause behind his killing. At the time, the inspector said that the police were investigating the incident and the accused could be arrested soon.