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June 19, 2006

Journalists hold rallies to mourn fallen comrade

Top Story

June 19, 2006

PESHAWAR: Rallies and processions to condemn the brutal killing of Hayatullah Dawar continued on Sunday, condemning the poor law and order situation.

Journalists of Mardan district staged a protest demonstration, which besides others was attended by district and Tehsil Nazims, traders, social organisations as well as political and religious figures.

Also, the journalists of Mohmand Agency brought out a procession that strongly condemned the murder of the Mir Ali newsman after six months of his detention. The journalists of Nowshera held an emergency meeting that also announced to hold a rally against the killing of Hayatullah on June 20.

Separately, ARD Central Secretary-General Iqbal Zafar Jhagra and PML-N FATA Secretary Information Said Wali Shah Afridi termed the murder of Hayatullah as the murder of journalism and demanded probe into the matter through a Supreme Court judge.

The PML-N and ARD leaders expressed sympathies with the bereaved families. They also expressed anger for not taking adequate steps for the release of the journalist since his kidnapping six months back.

General Secretary Pakistan-India People’s Forum for Peace and Democracy, Qaisar Khan, paid rich tributes to Hayatullah, saying that thousands of tribesmen in Waziristan, Orakzai, Bajaur and other agencies were passing through bad times.

The Tribal Union of Journalists, Kurram Agency chapter, and the Parachinar Press Club have demanded of the government to immediately arrest the murderers of Hayatullah.

The demand was made in a joint meeting of the two bodies that expressed sorrow over the demise of Hayatullah.

The Chitral Journalists Forum (CJF) condemned the murder of Dawar and termed the act another blow to the freedom of the press in the country.

Reuters adds: Hundreds of tribesmen staged a protest on Sunday against the killing of journalist Hayatullah Khan, abducted last year after reporting that an al-Qaeda leader had

been killed by a US missile.

The handcuffed body of the journalist, Hayatullah Khan, was found dumped in mountains outside Mir Ali in the North Waziristan on Friday. He was shot in the back of the head, probably on Thursday.

More than 800 tribesmen marched in the main market of Khar in the Bajaur tribal region, chanting slogans of “We want press freedom” “We want protection” and “Arrest killers of Hayatullah”.

Speakers at the rally criticised the government for its failure to protect journalists working in the lawless tribal region. “The government is responsible for the killing of Hayatullah,” said Maulana Muhammad Sadiq.

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