Pakistani journalist killed in Afghan-Pakistan border area

New York, September 14, 2010–The Committee to Protect Journalists calls for an immediate investigation into today’s shooting death of Misri Khan, president of the Hangu Union of Journalists in Pakistan’s Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Province (formerly known as the North West Frontier Province).

According to Shahid Sabir, news editor of the Urdu-language daily Ausaf, Khan was shot several times by two or more men who had been waiting for him as he entered the press club’s building in the early morning in Hangu, a volatile town near the border with Afghanistan. The attack was also reported by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty on its website.

Sabir told CPJ that the motive for Khan’s killing is not clear, and that he thinks he was targeted. The English-language Dawn daily reported that Khan had received threats from militant organizations. Khan was a general news reporter for Ausaf, as well as Mashriq, an Urdu-language daily published in Peshawar, the capital of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province.

“The killing of Misri Khan must not be allowed to become just another statistic. There is already a long list of journalists whose deaths have gone unexplained,” said Bob Dietz, CPJ’s Asia program coordinator. “If Khan died because of his work, it will make him the sixth journalist or media worker to be killed for his journalism this year in Pakistan–a mounting death toll the government must address.”

In a statement condemning the shooting, the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists said Khan had been a journalist for more than 20 years, reporting for several newspapers, and was widely respected. PFUJ said he was survived by his wife, six sons, and five daughters.

Hangu has long been the site of unrest between militant groups in the border area. On September 7, two policemen were killed and several others wounded when two bombs hit a police van, according to local and international media reports.