Senior journalist shot dead in Miranshah

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A senior tribal journalist who was also the president of Miranshah Press Club was shot dead by unidentified men on Wednesday evening.

An official at Miranshah said that Malik Mumtaz was going home in his car, when he came under fire by unidentified armed men boarding a car. The incident occurred at Chasham Bridge, he said, adding that nobody had claimed responsibility of the attack but the Taliban were the main suspects.

Associated with Jang Group for a long time, Malik Mumtaz had been facing threats for last several months.

Mumtaz became the second journalist who was mysteriously shot dead by unidentified men in North Waziristan. On December 3, 2005, another journalist Hayatullah was abducted from Mirali, and his bullet-ridden body was found on June 16, 2006. He remained a hostage for over six months. Another tribal journalist from North Waziristan, Rahmatullah Darpakhel, was also abducted and held in captivity for a few months before he made out free.

Almost all agencies and regions of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) have already been declared dangerous for journalists. Majority of tribal journalists have already abandoned their homes and shifted to Islamabad, Peshawar and other cities and towns. Over a dozen tribal journalists have become victims of violence and terrorism since 2005.

Tribal Union of Journalists (TUJ) President Nasar Mohmand expressed severe concern over the mysterious assassination of Malik Mumtaz, and termed it a failure of the government. He said the TUJ would hold an important meeting for chalking out the strategy for the safety and protection of its members.