Pakistani journalists said on Thursday that killing of scribes in the Taliban-infested NWFP is an attempt to scare them away from the restive region,but said they would not be cowed down.
They termed the killing of a scribe Musa Khankhel in Swat as “deliberate and cold blooded” so that the “happenings” there do not reach the outside world.
The journalists said they would not be cowed down and would continue to operate in the troubled region,but sought more protection.
Addressing a mass protest rally at the Swat Press Club,Hamid Mir,Executive Editor of Geo TV said,”Journalists were aware of who was behind the killing of Musa but would await the investigations into the murder”.
Unidentified gunmen killed Musa,a Pakistani television reporter,hours after he covered a peace march led by a hard-line cleric aimed at convincing militants in the region to lay down their weapons under a pact with the government.
It was unclear who shot Geo TV reporter,but the incident shows that Swat remains a dangerous region despite Monday’s truce agreement,which NATO has warned risks giving the Taliban a “safe haven” in the former tourist region.
Reporters have often been killed or kidnapped in the northwest. Journalists there face threats from both militants and members of the security forces and have to be very careful on what and how they report.
Mir said,Musa’s killing was “deliberate and planned” as his body had as many as 32 gunshot wounds. He said that the slain scribe had recorded statement on threats to his life,not once but twice,and this should be taken as evidence.
“Atrocities and excesses are being committed against the people of Swat,” Mir said and the killers of the slain journalist did not want this to be exposed.
He said Musa’s killing was not the first one,as so far,four journalists have been either gunned down or blown away by bombs in the region and the government has to act and bring the culprits to justice.
Another journalist Sohaib was gunned down in his car when he was taking his daughter to a hospital for treatment. There were 23 gunshot wounds on his body.