Yet another journalist silenced in Pakistani tribal area

May 25th, 2008 - 1:41 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Benazir Bhutto
By Shaheen Buneri
Peshawar, May 25 (IANS) The killing of a journalist by unidentified assailants in Pakistan’s Bajaur Agency highlights the risks that mediapersons working in the militant-infested tribal areas continue to take to keep the world informed. Muhammad Ibrahim Khan, a senior TV journalist, was killed last week while returning home after interviewing Maulwi Omar, spokesman of the Pakistan Taliban Movement.

Ibrahim had been working for Express TV and Daily Express in Bajaur Agency for the last six years and was a renowned journalist in the area.

In the wake of increasing militancy in Pakistan’s tribal belt, life has become very risky for journalists working there. Sometimes they get caught in the crossfire between the militants and security forces.

Talat Hussain, chief executive, news and current affairs, Aaj TV, told a private TV channel: “Journalists working in tribal areas are really brave. They keep the world informed at the expense of their own lives.

“It is high time the government and the owners of TV channels started protecting journalists working in the turbulent tribal areas,” he said.

Ibrahim’s killing took place Thursday in Inayat Kali in the restive area along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border where the Taliban have established their base. They dominate the whole area under the leadership of Moulvi Faqir Muhammad.

Muhammad Jamil, assistant political agent of Bajaur Agency, said Ibrahim was shot dead by unidentified assailants while he was returning on his motorcycle. “The killers have also taken his camera, videotapes and motorcycle,” the official added.

Jamshid Baghwan, bureau chief of Express TV, said Ibrahim had informed him of his scheduled interview with the Taliban spokesman. “At this juncture we can’t say who is responsible for his murder.”

Rahman Malik, Pakistan interior ministry advisor, and Sherry Rahman, the information minister, have expressed shock over the death of Ibrahim and directed the law enforcement authorities to arrest his killers.

Pakistan journalist bodies, including the Peshawar-based Khyber Union of Journalists and the Peshawar Press Club, have planned demonstrations in different parts of the country to protest the incident.

According to the Committee to Protect Journalists’ 2007 Report, five journalists were killed in Pakistan while carrying out their work last year. Suicide bombers caused three of the five deaths, including that of Muhammad Arif of ARY One World TV, who was among those killed when bombs exploded during the homecoming of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto.

(Shaheen Buneri is a TV and online journalist based in Peshawar. He can be contacted at

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