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Pakistan 10 November 2008

Journalist shot dead in the Swat Valley

Reporters Without Borders called on Pakistan’s military and civilian authorities to carry out a rigorous investigation into the death of journalist Qari Muhammad Shoaib, who was shot dead at the wheel of his car by soldiers in Mingora in the Swat Valley, north-west Pakistan.

A passenger in the journalist’s car said the soldiers shot him without warning in the 8 November incident while the military claimed warning shots were fired.

The 32-year-old reporter on local newspaper Khabar Kar and contributor to a national daily was killed while driving a family member as he returned home. His family said the soldiers opened fire without warning. “They shot at us as we reached Airport Road. We received no indication that we should stop”, said the family member travelling with him.

The army said the journalist had received several warnings to pull up. Soldiers were patrolling the area after receiving information of a threatened suicide attack. In a statement, the military said, “Warning shots were fired but the vehicle did not stop and as a result the security forces opened fire”.

Military officials in Mingora said they regretted the incident and promised to compensate his family. Muhammad Shoaib had two wives and six children.

Journalists in Mingora told Reporters Without Borders that the shots had been fired deliberately and were aimed at the journalist. “If they had wanted to stop the vehicle they could have shot out the tyres”, one of them said.

Abdul Aziz, of the newspaper Azadi in Swat Valley was killed at the end of August in a Pakistani military bombardment after being kidnapped by the Taliban on 27 August.

In this country
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Video on plight of Swat valley journalists
26 May - Pakistan
Joint open letter from the IFJ and RSF to the President regarding threats made against journalists
15 May - Pakistan
Emergency funds for journalists who have had to flee Swat valley fighting
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in the annual report
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