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Journalist Shot Dead In Northern Pakistan

Armed men have gunned down a local journalist in front of his office in northern Pakistan, RFE/RL's Radio Mashaal reports.

Misri Khan, president of the journalists association in Hangu district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province, was shot dead early today as he was entering the press club, eyewitness and co-journalist Salahuddin Orakzai told RFE/RL.

"Three armed men opened fire at Misri Khan as he reached the entrance of Hangu press club around 6:00 [a.m. local time]," Orakzai said.

He added that Khan died after being taken to a Hangu district hospital.

Osman Ghani, son of the slain journalist, said the family had no dispute or enmity with anyone in the area.

"As far as we know, the incident is the result of his reporting," Ghani said.

The killing was condemned by journalists in Peshawar, capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province. The journalists also staged an angry protest demonstration urging the government to ensure the protection of journalists and arrest Khan's killers.

Speaking to RFE/RL, Syed Bukhar Shah Bacha, president of the Khyber Union of Journalists, condemned the killing and demanded the arrest of the culprits.

"As you know, our journalist colleagues are facing problems from both the warring sides although they perform their professional responsibilities," Bacha said. "Each of the two parties is accusing them of siding with the other. We ask for an investigation into the incident and punishment for those responsible."

According to the U.S.-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), 42 journalists, including two foreigners, have been killed in Pakistan since 1994, most of them from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province and the adjacent tribal areas of the country.