Malik Mumtaz

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Mumtaz, 48, was fired upon by unidentified men in a car with tinted windows as he drove to his home in Miran Shah, in the main city of North Waziristan.

Mumtaz, a journalist for more than 20 years, had worked for Geo News television and the daily News International in both English and Urdu, news reports said. He had been elected president of the regional press club shortly before his death, news reports said. His most recent print stories included coverage of the general violence in North Waziristan and a report on the controversial issue of a local polio vaccination program. Health workers administering polio vaccines were killed in December by militants who called the program a cover for intelligence gathering activities, news reports said.

It is unclear if Mumtaz had been threatened before his death. Journalists working in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas say they are often threatened by several sources--militant groups, criminal gangs involved in drug trafficking and arms dealing, as well as the Pakistani military and intelligence agencies. A spokesman for Pakistani Taliban militants in the region denied responsibility for the murder and condemned the killing, news reports said. No group took responsibility for the attack.

President Asif Ali Zardari announced Rs. 1 million compensation for the family of the slain journalist, local reports said.

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