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

US Imposes Sanctions on Alleged Honduran Drug Gang

Treasury department alleges Los Valles group is responsible for smuggling tens of thousands of kilograms of cocaine into US each month More

At 91, Marvel Creator Stan Lee Continues to Expand his Universe

Company's chief emeritus hopes to interest new generation of children in superheroes of all shapes and sizes by publishing content across multiple media platforms More

Photogallery New Drug Protects Against Virus in Ebola Family

Study by researchers at University of Texas Medical Branch, Tekmira Pharmaceuticals is first looking at drug's effectiveness after onset of symptoms More

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.
African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebolai
X
George Putic
August 20, 2014 8:57 PM
While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ferguson Calls For Justice as Anger, Violence Grips Community

Violence, anger and frustration continue to grip the small St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. Protests broke out after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager on August 9. The case has sparked outrage around the nation and prompted the White House to send U.S. Attorney Eric Holder to the small community of just over 20,000 people. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas has more from Ferguson.
Video

Video Beheading Of US Journalist Breeds Outrage

U.S. and British authorities have launched an investigation into an Islamic State video showing the beheading of kidnapped American journalist James Foley by a militant with a British accent. The extremist group, which posted the video on the Internet Tuesday, said the murder was revenge for U.S. airstrikes on militant positions in Iraq - and has threatened to execute another American journalist it is holding. Henry Ridgwell has more from London.
Video

Video Family Robots - The Next Big Thing?

Robots that can help us with daily chores like cooking and cleaning are a long way off, but automatons that serve as family companions may be much closer. Researchers in the United States, France, Japan and other countries are racing to build robots that can entertain and perform some simpler tasks for us. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.

AppleAndroid