The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), and its affiliate the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ), is alarmed and saddened by the murder of senior journalist Mukaram Khan Atif on January 17.
According to the Khyber Union of Journalists (KhUJ) General Secretary Yousuf Ali, Khan Atif was offering evening prayers at a mosque near his home in Shabqadar Town, Charsadda, in Pakistan’s central Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, when two gunmen opened fire, shooting him in the head and chest. He was taken to a local hospital where he died later that evening.
Khan Atif, a journalist for 15 years, was working as a correspondent for Dewa Radio - a Pashto language radio channel of the Voice of America and a reporter for Dunya TV.
According to an AFP report, militant group Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan has claimed responsibility for the killing.
Tribal Union of Journalists (TUJ) President Safdar Dawar has condemned the murder and claims that Mukaram Khan Atif had been receiving threats since locating to Charsadda. He added that this is the first time that Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) had claimed responsibility for such an attack. The KhUJ, Peshawar Press Club and TUJ have called a meeting to devise a strategy on how to deal with threats to journalists.
“This is a terrible tragedy, both for Khan Atif’s family and for the journalist community in Pakistan”, IFJ Asia-Pacific Director Jacqueline Park said.
“It is time for Pakistan’s media houses and government to end the impunity, respond to attacks and threats made against journalists and protect media workers from increasing risks.”
Last year, as many as ten journalists were killed and many more injured, making Pakistan the most dangerous country for journalists for the second year in a row.
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