New York, July 13, 2009–The house of a second Pakistani journalist working in the border area with Afghanistan was looted and burned on Saturday, according to the Khyber Union of Journalists (KhUJ). The attack was similar to one carried out by Taliban militants on Thursday in the same district, which has been an area of conflict since the government launched an offensive in April.
According to the KhUJ and the English-language daily The News, the home of Behroz Khan, in Balo Khan village in Buner in the North West Frontier Province, had been looted and ransacked a few times in recent months before it was burned over the weekend. Khan is a senior journalist who works for Geo TV and has assisted CPJ investigations in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas in the past.
“The targeting of homes and families of journalists who dare to report professionally is a frightening trend that must be stopped,” said Bob Dietz, CPJ’s Asia program coordinator. “All sides in the conflict in Pakistan must respect the role of journalists in covering the news.”
The News reported that Khan had left the area before the most recent attack and CPJ has not been able to contact him. The paper said Buner’s district coordination officer and district police officer were not available to comment.
A bomb destroyed the home of Voice of America correspondent Rahman Bunairee in Buner district on Thursday in what was believed to be a retaliatory attack by the Taliban.
The government said on Wednesday that it was winding down its military operations against Taliban militants in Buner and the adjoining Swat Valley. The offensive, launched in April, has killed about 1,600 combatants, according to the government.