Gunmen in South Waziristan fatally shot Allah Noor, a
journalist for Peshawar-based Khyber TV, and Amir Nowab, a freelance cameraman
for Associated Press Television News and a reporter for the Frontier Post
newspaper. The journalists were riding with colleagues in a bus transporting
them from the town of Sararogha, where they had covered the surrender of a
suspected tribal militant, Baitullah Mehsud.
A car overtook the bus about 7:30 p.m. near the town of
Wana, and assailants opened fire with AK-47 assault rifles, according to The
Associated Press, which quoted Mahmood Shah, chief of security for Pakistan's
tribal areas bordering Afghanistan. Two other journalists riding in the bus
were injured. Anwar Shakir, a stringer for Agence France-Presse, was wounded in
the back during the attack, according to news reports. Dilawar Khan, who was
working for Al-Jazeera, suffered minor injuries. Nowab was also known
professionally as Mir Nawab.
Days later, a group calling itself Sipah-e-Islam, or
Soldiers of Islam, claimed responsibility for the killings in a letter faxed to
newspapers. It accused some journalists of "working for Christians" and of
"being used as tools in negative propaganda ... against the Muslim mujahideen."
Local journalists blamed officials for not doing more at the
time of the murders. They said no attempt was made to stop the gunmen's vehicle
even though the attack took place in an area under government control. They
also said no real investigation into the murders took place.
The Pakistani military had begun an offensive against
suspected Al-Qaeda fighters in South Waziristan in early 2004.