Journalists in the line of fire in KP, FATA


A new wave of panic swept through journalists based in Peshawar and tribal areas following the recent assassination of a journalist from North Waziristan (NWA) and disappearance of an Afghan journalist from the provincial capital.
Pir Rahamdil Shah, a Peshawar-based Afghan journalist, disappeared in the wake of frequent threats through anonymous telephone calls and letters from unknown persons, Pakistan Today has learnt.
Shah’s son told Pakistan Today that his father had become a target of militants after he had assisted a journalist from Jalalabad, Afghanistan, a couple of years ago. The family left Afghanistan following a threat and migrated to Peshawar, he said. But even in Peshawar, unknown persons attacked their home on Warsak Road, he said.
In the past few months, frequent threats and warnings from militants have posed severe problems for tribal and Afghan journalists and their families. Almost all tribal journalists have, as a result, abandoned their homes while Afghan journalists have either started giving up the profession or going underground.
According to latest data, around 98 journalists have been killed mysteriously since 9/11 throughout Pakistan. Half of them belonged to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and adjoining Federally Administrative Tribal Areas (FATA). A few of them also hailed from Afghanistan and were mysteriously shot dead in Peshawar and surrounding areas.
Malik Mumtaz from Miranshah, NWA, became the latest victim of targeted killing when he was gunned down on February 27, 2013. The mysterious assassination of Mumtaz fuelled unrest among journalists all across KP and FATA.
Although journalists have been fleeing their native villages and hamlets since 2005, Mumtaz’s murder coupled with Shah’s disappearance gave rise to an unprecedented wave of fear among journalists in the region.
A number of journalists from Peshawar- mostly associated with English newspapers and foreign media organisations- have also been avoiding public places and are performing their duties from unknown locations. Quite a few have rented homes in military residential schemes as safety becomes a serious problem in civilian residential localities.