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'Musa's murder an attempt to scare away scribes from Swat'
February 19, 2009 15:20 IST
Pakistani journalists on Thursday condemned the killings of scribes in the Taliban-infested North Western Frontier Province and said that these were attempts to scare them away from the restive region.
They termed the killing of a scribe Musa Khankhel in Swat on Wednesday as 'deliberate and cold blooded' so that the happenings there do not reach the outside world.
The journalists said they would not be cowed down and would continue to operate in the troubled region, but sought more protection.
Addressing a mass protest rally at the Swat Press Club, Hamid Mir, executive editor of Geo TV, said, "Journalists are aware of who was behind the killing of Musa but would await the investigations into the murder".
Unidentified gunmen killed Musa, a Geo TV reporter, hours after he covered a peace march led by a hardline cleric, aimed at convincing militants in the region to lay down their weapons under a pact with the government.
The incident shows that Swat remains a dangerous region despite Monday's truce agreement which, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation has warned, risks giving the Taliban [Images] a safe haven in the former tourist region.
Reporters have often been killed or kidnapped in north-western Pakistan. Journalists there face threats from both militants and members of the security forces and have to be very careful on what and how they report.
Mir said that Musa's killing was 'deliberate and planned' as his body had as many as 32 gunshot wounds. He said that the slain scribe had recorded a statement about threats to his life, not once but twice, and that should be considered as evidence.
"Atrocities and excesses are being committed against the people of Swat," Mir said and added that the killers of the slain journalist did not want this to be exposed.
He said Musa's killing was not the first such instance as so far, four journalists have been either gunned down or blown up by bombs in the region, and the government has to act and bring the culprits to justice.
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