News / Asia

    Pakistani Taliban Claims Responsibility for Killing VOA Reporter

    VOA reporter Mukarram Khan Aatif shown in northwest Pakistan in January 2012. The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for killing Aatif in a mosque in Shabqadar, some 35 kilometers from Peshawar.
    VOA reporter Mukarram Khan Aatif shown in northwest Pakistan in January 2012. The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for killing Aatif in a mosque in Shabqadar, some 35 kilometers from Peshawar.

    The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibilty for the Tuesday killing of Pakistani reporter Mukarram Khan Aatif, who worked for the Voice of America.

    Aatif was assassinated in Shabqadar, a small town located in the violence-hit Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, not far from Peshawar.

    Witnesses and local police say that Aatif was attending evening prayers when two assailants on a motorbike arrived at the mosque.  One of them entered the building, they say, and shot Aatif in the head and chest before escaping the scene.

    The slain reporter, in his mid 40s and a native of the Mohman tribal agency bordering Afghanistan, was rushed in critical condition to a hospital, where he later died from his injuries.

    Friends and relatives and that death threats from Taliban militants had forced the slain reporter and his family to abandon their hometown and move to Shabqadar.

    Aatif, far left, attends a training session in Islamabad, Pakistan, 2010. (VOA Deewa)

    Soon after news of his death surfaced, local and international media groups  condemned his killing as a act an terrorism.  Imtiaz Alam, secretary-general of South Asia Free Media Association, a regional media watchdog, called for a probe.

    “The government must investigate and find the culprits and also compensate the family," Alam said. "And I expect more killings in Pakistan, and journalists are now leaving country under threat from all kinds of actors, especially the extremists.”

    Pakistani information minister Firdous Ashiq Awan said the government will conduct a “thorough and transparent” investigation into the incident and promised financial assistance to the victim’s family.

    “It is really a very sad incident and I condemn it from the core of my heart." Awan said. "I assure his family and all the media that we have to really interrogate and go for a transparent inquiry, and I am sure that we will be able to find some facts related to this incident.”

    The minister added that Pakistan’s ongoing war against Taliban-led extremists has exposed the entire society to revenge terrorist attacks.

    In addition to filing reports for Deewa Radio, the Voice of America’s Pashto language service, Mukarram Khan Aatif also worked for Dunya TV, a privately-run local television station.

    Critics insist that not only militants but Pakistani security agencies are also behind deadly attacks on journalists. The failure of the Pakistani authorities to bring elements involved in such attacks to justice, they say, has emboldened those fearful of increasingly independent media.

    According to Reporters Without Borders, at least 10 reporters were killed in Pakistan in 2011, making it the deadliest nation in the world for journalists.

    You May Like

    Native Americans Ask: What About Our Water Supply?

    They say they have been facing a dangerous water contaminant for decades - uranium – but the problem has received far less attention than water contamination by lead in Flint, Michigan

    Pakistan's President Urges Nation Not to Celebrate Valentine's Day

    Mamnoon Hussain criticizes Valentine's Day, which falls on Sunday this year, as a Western import that threatens to undermine the Islamic values of Pakistan

    Mother of IS Supporter: Son Was Peaceful, 'Role Model'

    Somali-American Abdirizak Mohamed Warsame pleaded guilty Thursday to charges of conspiring to provide material support to Islamic State militants

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortagei
    X
    February 12, 2016 7:31 PM
    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortage

    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Gateway to Mecca: Historical Old Jeddah

    Local leader Sami Nawar's family has been in the Old City of Jeddah for hundreds of years and takes us on a tour of this ancient route to Mecca, also believed to be the final resting place of Adam's wife, Eve.
    Video

    Video New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Uganda

    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video Russia Bristles at NATO Expansion in E. Europe

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is meeting Friday with the head of NATO after the Western military alliance and the United States announced plans for the biggest military build-up in Europe since the Cold War. Russia has called NATO's moves a threat to stability in Europe. But NATO says the troop rotations and equipment are aimed at reassuring allies concerned about Russia as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.