Journalist gunned down in Pakistan

New York, May 22, 2008—The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the fatal shooting of Express TV reporter Mohammed Ibrahim near Pakistan’s border with Afghanistan today.

Ibrahim, a reporter for the Express News channel, was gunned down by unknown men outside Khar, the main town of the Bajaur tribal area in Pakistan’s North West Frontier Province, according to news reports. The journalist was returning by motorcycle from an interview with local Taliban spokesman Maulvi Omar, according to the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists and Imtiaz Ali, a Washington Post correspondent based in the nearby regional capital of Peshawar.

Reuters quoted a local journalist saying the attackers took Ibrahim’s camera. They also took footage of the interview, Ali told CPJ by e-mail, after speaking with local reporters. Ali said that Ibrahim also worked for the Urdu-language Daily Express.

“We offer our condolences to Mohammed Ibrahim’s family and colleagues,” said CPJ Asia Program Coordinator Bob Dietz. “The new government must take immediate steps to investigate this murder and safeguard the journalists who are providing important reporting from this volatile border region.”

Bajaur is part of the restive Federally Administered Tribal Areas of the North West Frontier Province where local authorities and international Afghanistan-based military forces are fighting with militant groups for control.

Noor Hakim Khan, a Daily Pakistan correspondent, was killed in a roadside bomb in Bajaur in June 2007. Pakistan is identified by CPJ as among 13 countries with the poorest records for solving journalist murders.