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September 15, 2010

Gunmen kill senior journalist in Hangu


September 15, 2010

HANGU: Misri Khan Orakzai, a senior journalist, was shot dead by unidentified persons outside the Press Club in the most sensitive part of this district headquarter, on Tuesday local sources said.
The sources said the 48-year-old newsman, who also owned a news agency, was waiting early morning outside the Press Club to receive copies of the newspapers when unidentified assailants sprayed him with bullets. He was seriously wounded and succumbed to his injuries at the District Headquarters Hospital, the sources added.
The doctors said a bullet, which pierced through his heart, caused his death. The sources said the unidentified gunmen attacked him in an area close to the offices of the district coordination officer (DCO), district courts and other government buildings along with various banks and the Press Club. The assailants escaped from the scene brandishing their guns without being challenged by the police.
When contacted, District Police Officer (DPO) of Hangu Abdur Rashid Khan said the unidentified gunmen shot dead Misri Khan and a case was registered against the unknown killers.
Farooq, the son of the slain journalist, said unknown people were hurling threats at the family through telephone calls. He said his father often stated that death kept no calendar and he would meet his end as destined. “My father said he will not budge from reporting the truth,” Farooq added.
He is survived by a widow and nine children Misri Khan was the founder of journalism in Hangu district and there were reports that certain people were not happy with his reporting as earlier unknown miscreants thrice burnt his news agency offices in Hangu, inflicting heavy financial losses on him.
Being affiliated with Urdu dailies Mashriq, Ausaf and Pakistan besides several other print media outlets, Misri Khan served journalism for more than 30 years. On several occasions various groups in the volatile Hangu district subjected him to physical and mental torture, the

sources said. Militants were also reported to have threatened him in the recent past.
A large number of people including workers of various political parties, notables and journalists attended his funeral at the Adda Mosque. It is unclear who assassinated Misri Khan and nobody has claimed responsibility for his killing. Earlier, the news of his death spread like wildfire in Hangu city where all markets were closed.
The Hangu Union of Journalists along with the Tribal Union of Journalists held a meeting soon after the incident and announced three-day mourning over Misri Khan’s death. They also set a three-day deadline for the district administration to arrest the killers, threatening protest all over the province if the government failed to arrest the perpetrators of the crime.
Journalism has become a dangerous profession in Pakistan as reporters are frequently harassed, kidnapped and killed. But the government could not bring to book those involved in the murder of journalists, as Misri Khan is the seventh journalist killed in Pakistan during 2010. He is the 53rd reporter killed in the line of the duty in the world in the first eight months of 2010.
The Vienna-based International Press Institute (IPI) said 110 journalists perished due to their profession in 2009 in the world. The Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists also condemned his assassination and asked the government to arrest the killers. It also demanded compensation for the family of the deceased. Journalists staged protests in Hangu and Peshawar to condemn his assassination and demand arrest of the assailants.

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