BBC reporter’s brother killed in Pakistani tribal area

New York, August 30, 2006—The teenage brother of a BBC correspondent was found murdered today in South Waziristan, a violent and lawless tribal region along Pakistan’s border with Afghanistan. Taimor Khan, 16, brother of Dilawar Wazir, an Urdu language reporter for the BBC, was abducted in the town of Wana on his way home from school on Tuesday, and his body was discovered near the same area early today.

Sailab Mehsud, president of the Tribal Union of Journalists (TUJ), said hospital workers told him they had difficulty identifying the body because the boy’s injuries were so severe. The TUJ is the main independent organization representing journalists in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas.

Based on the region’s history of violence against journalists, Mehsud said, the TUJ suspects the murder could be connected to Wazir’s work. According to the BBC, Wazir declined comment when asked if the murder could be connected to his work. The Committee to Protect Journalists is looking into possible motives.

Eight journalists have been murdered in Pakistan since 2002, four of them in the tribal areas. The most recent slaying was in June, when the body of freelance journalist Hayatullah Khan was found in a marketplace near his home. Khan, abducted in December 2005, had been shot several times.

Investigations into the eight killings have yielded results in only the one case, that of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, an American killed in 2002. U.S. officials exerted intense pressure on Pakistani authorities in the Pearl case.

Shah Zuman, spokesman for Northwest Frontier Gov. Ali Mohammed Jan Orekzai, told CPJ that he had no immediate information on today’s killing, nor could he report progress in the investigation into Hayatullah Khan’s death. The latter probe is led by High Court Justice Mohammed Reza Khan. The justice was named head of the investigation after journalists boycotted parliamentary coverage for a day and demonstrated in several cities around the country.