Ten years ago, on September 14, 2010, Hangu Union of Journalist (HUJ) president and a senior journalist, Misri Khan Orakzai, was shot dead by three unidentified men in front of the press club in the town Hangu in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.
Orakzai had been working as a journalist for about three decades. He was also a social worker in the area and played an active role in highlighting local problems. He reported daily Jinnah in Islamabad and daily Mashriq in Peshawar.
On the morning of the incident, Orakzai was entering the press club when three unknown men opened fire on him. The assailants escaped the scene without being challenged by police.
The journalist received one bullet in his heart. He was taken to the District Headquarters Hospital in Hangu where he succumbed to his injuries.
A criminal complaint was registered against the unidentified armed men. Early reports said that no one had claimed responsibility, however, soon after reports stated that the Tehreek-e-Taliban claimed responsibility.
Press reports at the time said that Orakzai may have been assassinated for publishing news stories about militants’ activities, adding that he had received threats from militants after reporting on their activities.
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) had reported that the Taliban had claimed the murder and Taliban spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan had said: “We killed him because he twisted the facts. He had leaning towards the army in what he wrote (…) There will be other attacks against those who speak out against the Taliban. They are part of our targets.”
Orakzai’s son, Umer Farooq, said his father had been receiving threats for quite some time through phone calls and his office had been attacked three times.
A decade later, speaking to Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF), current Hangu Press Club President, Zahid, one of Orakzai’s son, told PPF that the Tehreek-e-Taliban had claimed responsibility for his father’s murder, adding that Ehsan had accepted it. Zahid said that the Taliban were angry that Orakzai was highlighting their activities and writing stories on them. He added that the Taliban had threatened them two to three times while visiting the Hangu Press Club. He said that they had fixed a bomb in their house in 2009 and had also kidnapped him.
Zahid said that there were many protests and this resulted in pressure on the Hangu police. He claimed that as a result, they had arrested a drug addict and pressurized them to accept him as Orakzai’s murderer. However, he said that they believed he had not attempted the murder.
Hangu Police Station Head Muharar Mr Shashoola said that the case had been closed and added that all four accused had been granted bail from a Civil Additional Court.