Second journalist killed in a week in Pakistan’s northwest

New York, September 20, 2010–Authorities in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa must thoroughly investigate Thursday’s murder of Mujeebur Rehman Siddique, the second killing of a journalist in the province in one week, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

Gunmen shot Siddique, local correspondent for the Islamabad-based, Urdu-language daily Pakistan in the town of Dargai as he was leaving a mosque on Thursday evening, according to local press freedom group the Pakistan Press Foundation and news reports. He died of two bullet wounds on his way to receive treatment in the provincial capital, Peshawar, the reports said. CPJ was unable to immediately determine a motive for the shooting.

In a separate incident, Misri Khan, a journalist with Urdu-language dailies Ausaf and Mashriq, was fatally shot in the town of Hangu in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa on September 14. CPJ is investigating to determine the motive for his murder.

Not including Siddique and Khan, five journalists have been killed in Pakistan because of their work since April, according to CPJ research. 

“Local authorities must immediately investigate the killing of Mujeebur Rehman Siddique,” said CPJ Deputy Director Joel Simon. “Pakistan’s death toll for journalists is a vivid demonstration of the enormous risks journalists are confronting to cover a story of global significance. It’s a terrible record that the government must address.”

Journalists in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, formerly known as the North West Frontier Province, operate in dangerous conditions because of the ongoing conflict between the military and armed militant groups operating in the border region with Afghanistan.

Pakistan placed eighth on CPJ’s Impunity Index in 2010, which highlights countries where journalists are killed regularly and governments fail to solve the crimes. It calculates unsolved journalist murders from 2000-2009 as a percentage of each country’s population.