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Pakistan 29 January 2004

Journalist murdered by politician

Reporters Without Borders (Reporters sans frontières) voiced outrage at the murder of a journalist by a mayor today in Pakistan’s North-West Frontier Province over a report about alcohol trafficking, and it called on the interior ministry to do everything possible to ensure the official is arrested and tried.

The organisation also accused the federal authorities of sustaining a climate of violence against the press that increases the risks for journalists who are constantly under pressure from politicians and local elites.

(JPEG) Sajid Tanoli, 34, a reporter for the Urdu-language daily Shumaal (North), was killed by Khalid Javed, a lawyer and Nazim (mayor) of Mansehra, in North-West Frontier Province, 150 km northwest of Islamabad. Javed shot Tanoli five times in broad daylight on one of the town’s streets.

Javed was named in a report by Tanoli three days ago on alcohol trafficking, which is banned in Pakistan under Islamic law. Javed had brought a complaint against the newspaper, demanding more than 200,000 euros in damages if it did not publish an apology.

Javed fled after today’s shooting but police arrested his brother and son, who were named as accomplices to the murder in a complaint filed by Tanoli’s brother.

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