Khalil Jibran

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On the evening of June 18, 2024, unidentified assailants fatally shot Jibran, a reporter for the privately owned Pashto-language broadcaster Khyber News, in the Landi Kotal area of northwest Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, according to news reports and the local press freedom group Pakistan Press Foundation.

Two armed men dragged Jibran, former president of the Landi Kotal Press Club, out of the vehicle and ordered three other individuals traveling with him to get out, stating they were not targets, according to those sources. The gunmen then opened fire on Jibran, killing him.

Police did not arrive at the scene until nearly an hour later, Pakistani newspaper Dawn reported, citing information from local residents.

Jiban sustained 19 bullet wounds and an arm fracture, suggesting a physical scuffle had taken place between him and the attackers, Dawn reported, citing doctors at a local hospital. The journalist is survived by his wife and five children.

Qazi Fazlullah, president of the Tribal Union of Journalists and a reporter for broadcaster Geo News, told CPJ that local journalists were advocating for a judicial commission to investigate journalists’ murders amid a severe pattern of impunity.

Saleem Abbas Kulachi – a district police officer of Khyber district, which encompasses Landi Kotal – told CPJ that no suspects had been arrested as of July 1, but over a dozen people had been questioned in relation to the killing, including those accompanying Jibran that night.

Jibran had received threats from militants over the past decade in relation to his journalism, Fazlullah said, adding that unidentified individuals attacked Jibran with a hand grenade in 2014 and planted an explosive device that did not detonate under his car in 2017.

Jibran had received a resurgence of threats over the past two years in relation to his reporting for Khyber News, in which he documented militancy with the help of government and army sources, Fazlullah said.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has experienced a dramatic surge in militant attacks since the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, otherwise known as the Pakistani Taliban, exited a ceasefire with the Pakistan government in 2022.

Pakistan information minister Attaullah Tarar did not respond to CPJ’s messaged request for comment in June 2024.