Geo demands investigation into TV reporter Musa Khankhel’s murder (Lead)

February 19th, 2009 - 2:11 pm ICT by IANS  

TalibanIslamabad, Feb 19 (IANS) Thirty two bullets were pumped into TV reporter Musa Khankhel in Pakistan’s Swat Valley two days after Islamabad allowed the Taliban to impose Shariat (Islamic law) in the area, said Geo News executive editor Hamid Mir, added that an investigation should be carried out into the incident.
Mir told a meeting of journalists: “They (the assailants) are mistaken, they cannot escape.” He demanded an investigation into the incident.

He said that Khankhel’s statements were recorded in his own voice “2-3 times before his death”.

“Truth has to be reported…We will continue to expose them. Woh (Khankhel) Aman Ka Shahid Hai (He is a martyr to peace),” he said.

“We will continue with this profession. I will go back to Swat. If they want to kill me, they can. I will carry only a pen,” he thundered. “We have hundreds of Musa Khan’s ready to sacrifice their lives. If one Musa Khan is killed, hundreds will be born.”

Mir went on to say that some journalists, including Abdul Aziz, Sirajuddin and Shoaib, had earlier been killed in the valley while performing their duty. He said Shoaib was shot 23 times in his car while taking his daughter to hospital.

“We don’t want to hamper Swat peace process,” he said and added that the assailants did not want Swat’s condition to be highlighted by the media.

Another journalist demanded that the government make arrangements for the protection of journalists in Swat and the killing was an assault on all journalists.

He said that “there is no rule of law” in Swat.

Geo TV said unidentified gunmen shot dead Khankhel in Matta area of Swat Valley in the North West Frontier Province (NWFP).

Khankhel, who also worked for the English newspaper The News, was in the area to cover the talks between the local Taliban leader and a cleric, the News Network International (NNI) news agency reported.

No group claimed responsibility for the killing.

Information Minister Sherry Rehman condemned Khankhel’s murder and vowed to bring the murderers to justice.

On Monday, the Tehrik Nifaz-i-Shariat Muhammadi (TNSM) reached an agreement with the provincial government of NWFP that Shariat would be imposed in Malakand division, which includes the Swat Valley.

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