Pakistani journalist Mosa Khankhel killed in Swat (Second Lead)

February 18th, 2009 - 10:34 pm ICT by IANS  

TalibanIslamabad, Feb 18 (IANS) Pakistani journalist Mosa Khankhel, a correspondent for Geo TV and The News, died with his boots on as he headed for Swat in the country’s restive northwest to report on peace talks between a radical cleric and his son-in-law who heads the Taliban that controls the area.
Unidentified gunmen shot Khankhel dead at Matta, near Swat, where the peace talks were to be held.

In his last report before his death on the departure of cleric Sufi Mohammad of the Tahrik-e-Nifaz Shariat Muhammadi (TNSM) for talks with Maulana Fazlullah, the journalist said: “The convoy is departing for Matta. Sufi Ahmed will go with the convoy to Matta.

“Attempts are being made to restore peace in the area,” Khankhel added.

The TNSM had Monday signed an agreement with the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) government to impose Shariat laws in the provinces Malakand region, which includes the once picturesque tourist destination of Swat.

President Asif Ali Zardari has said he would approve the pact if the Taliban, whose writ runs in the Malakand region, laid down their arms and restored peace in the area.

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and Information and Broadcasting Minister Sherry Rehman, immediately condemned the journalist’s killing, terming it an unacceptable act.

Khankhel is the fourth journalist to be killed in terrorist violence this year.

Tahir Awan and Mohammad Imran were killed in an explosion at the scene of a suicide blast they were reporting on at the NWFP’s Dera Ismail Khan town.

Awan freelanced for local dailies Eitedal and Apna Akhbar while Imran was a trainee cameraman with Express News.

In Rawalpindi adjacent to Islamabad, unknown assailants gunned down Aamer Wakil who worked with Rohi TV and edited the local daily Awami Inqalab.

A week later, journalist Kamal Azfir survived an attempt on his life in a firing incident near Kohat in NWFP.

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