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Pakistani forces mistake journalist for suicide bomber, shoot him dead in Swat Valley

Pakistani forces mistake journalist for suicide bomber, shoot him dead in Swat Valley
Pakistani soldiers stand guard in Swat valley in February 2008. Photo: Agence France-Presse (AFP) / Farooq Naeem

Pakistani security forces allegedly killed Qari Muhammad Shoib, a Mingora-based print journalist on Saturday night when he was driving in his car at Nishat Chowk of Mingora city in the restive Swat Valley of North West Pakistan.

Qari Shoib, 32, was a dynamic journalist who regularly reported on the conflict between Taliban militants and Pakistan security forces for daily Azadi and PPA news Agency.

Qari Shoib has left two wives, three daughters and one son to mourn his death.

Mumtaz Ahmad Sadiq, president of Mingora Press Club said Qari Shoib was returning home in his car after consulting a local car his ailing daughter, when he reached Nishat Chowk security forces opened fire on him and killed him on the spot. However his daughter is safe in the incident.

“This is third time that a journalist is killed in Swat valley. We are feeling insecure and life has become miserable for us”, Mumtaz said while tears were welling in his eyes.

Since October, 2007 when government of President Parvez Musharraf launched a military operation against Taliban militants, three journalists have been killed in Swat valley. One Sirajuddin was killed in a suicide attack and another Abdul Aziz Shaheen was killed in shelling by the military helicopters. Qari Shoib is the third journalist who became a victim of firing by the security forces.

Military officials said that Shoib’s killing was the result of “misunderstanding” and they are deeply grieved over his death. “The security forces misunderstood him for a suicide bomber. We are shocked at the loss of the precious life”, a military official said requesting that his name may not be published.

Members of Mingora and Swat press clubs Sunday staged a protest demonstration in Mingora town against the killing of Qari Shoib and demanded of the government and international press freedom organisations to ensure their protection. They also demanded that the government should provide financial assistance for the family of the killed journalist.

Khalid Khishgi, General Secretary of Khyber Union of Journalist also expressed his deep shock over the killing of the journalist and demanded of the government to take concrete steps for the security of the journalists in the conflict-ridden North West Pakistan.

It may be recalled that last year unidentified armed men killed Muhammad Ibrahim Khan, a TV journalist in Bajaur Tribal Agency however till this time the security agencies have completely failed to arrest his killers.

Date posted: November 9, 2008 Last modified: May 23, 2018 Total views: 372