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February 20, 2009

Musa Khankhel’s murder continues to draw flak

Lahore

February 20, 2009

ISLAMABAD: The assassination of Musa Khankhel, correspondent of Geo News and The News in Swat, Thursday continued to draw flak as people from various walks of life, including ministers, traders and journalist bodies, strongly condemned the tragic incident and condoled with the bereaved family.

In separate condolence messages, Speaker National Assembly Dr Fehmida Mirza and Deputy Speaker Faisal Karim paid tributes to Musa Khankhel and said that he was a devoted professional and always performed his duties without being deterred.

They prayed to Almighty Allah to rest the departed soul in eternal peace and grant courage and forbearance to the bereaved family to bear the loss with equanimity. Federal Minister for Communication, Dr Arbab Alamgir Khan, Minister for Population Welfare Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan, Minister for Safron Najamuddin Khan, Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Syed Sumsam Ali Bukhari, Minister for Defence Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar and Minister for Kashmir Affairs and Northern Areas Qamar Zaman Kaira also strongly condemned the killing of Geo TV and The News correspondent Musa Khankhel in Matta.

In their separate condolence messages, they prayed Almighty Allah to rest the departed soul in eternal peace and grant courage and fortitude to the bereaved family to bear irreparable loss.

Meanwhile, the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) was shocked and horrified at the murder of Musa Khankhel. Musa Khankhel is the fourth journalist killed in Swat since 2007, and the second journalist to be killed in Pakistan this year. Across Pakistan, 17 journalists have been killed since 2007, mostly in targeted attacks, although some have died while covering hazardous events.

“The IFJ condemns the murder of Musa Khankhel, an accomplished young reporter, and the attack on the Wana Press Club,” IFJ Asia-Pacific Director Jacqueline Park said. France also strongly condemned the heinous murder of Geo TV’s

correspondent in Swat, Musa Khankhel.

In a statement issued here on Thursday said, France expressed its sincere condolences with his family, his friends and to his colleagues. France urged both media outlets and the Pakistani authorities to keep pursuing the aim of ensuring safety of journalists, wherever they work in Pakistan.

The statement said those unacceptable attacks on the media constitute a serious threat to the freedom of the media in Pakistan, a principle that is both recognized by the Pakistani constitution and several international conventions.

Meanwhile, Islamabad-based traders also condemned the assassination of Musa Khankhel and demanded of the government to arrest the culprits immediately. Malik Sohail Hussain, VP, NTA, President Blue Area Traders Association and former senior vice president of ICCI said that Musa Khankhel, correspondent of The News and Geo TV was kidnapped and later killed in the line of duty.

Speaking at a condolence meeting held at Blue Area, Malik Sagheer Ahmed, Chairman Blue Area, Amin Pirzada, Ehsan Bakhtawri, Salahuddin Khan, President Melody Market, Main Mehboob, President F-10, Malik Ehsan Iqbal, President G-9, Sheikh Haroon, President Jinnah Super, Sarfaraz Mughal, President Super Market, Syed Iqtidar Kazmi, President H-11 and many others said that it was responsibility of the government to provide protection to reporters so that they could discharge their duties. In a press statement, the Quaid-e-Millat Jafariya, Pakistan, Agha Syed Hamid Ali Shah Moosavi, said the murder of Musa Khankhel was an attempt to sabotage peace efforts.