Pakistani working for US media shot dead

Pakistani working for US media shot dead

PESHAWAR, Pakistan
Gunmen on Jan. 17 shot dead a Pakistani journalist working for the Voice of America’s (VOA) Pashto-language radio service as he prayed at a mosque in the northwest of the country, police said.

Mukarram Khan Aatif, a 43-year-old correspondent with Deewa radio, was attacked at a mosque near his home in Shabqadar town, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, 30 kilometers north of Peshawar. Pakistan’s umbrella Taliban faction claimed responsibility for the killing in a telephone call to Agence France-Presse and threatened other journalists with the same fate. “The two attackers came on a motorbike, fired bullets at Aatif in the mosque and escaped. He suffered bullet wounds to the head,” said local police officer Zahir Shah. “Aatif was hit in the head and rushed to a hospital in Peshawar.

Deadliest country for media in 2011

The prayer leader was also injured,” said district police chief Nisar Khan Marwat. Taliban spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan said the Islamist militia killed Aatif because he was “working for the Pakistani military and the United States.”

“We warned him many times not to work for them, but he didn’t accept our demand,” the spokesman said, warning: “Many other journalists are also now a target.” At Voice of America headquarters in Washington, the news outlet condemned the killing and urged local authorities “to do more to protect journalists.” According to press watchdog Reporters Without Borders, Pakistan was the deadliest country for the media in 2011 with at least eight journalists killed in connection with their work.

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