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Pakistani Journalists Allowed To Carry Weapons

Pakistani journalists have been given permission to carry weapons after the killing of a reporter working for an Italian news organization.

The body of Syed Saleem Shahzad, 40, was found some 150 kilometers southeast of Islamabad on May 31.

Shahzad, who had been writing about alleged links between the Pakistani military and the Al-Qaeda network, had gone missing three days earlier.

Pakistan's interior minister, Rehman Malik, told reporters on June 1 that orders had been approved to permit journalists to carry small arms with them for self-protection.

A spokesman for the ministry said journalists would be issued licenses to carry weapons with them.

Afzal Butt, the head of the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists, criticized the move, saying that it is the government's responsibility to protect journalists.

The killing of Shahzad was condemned by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

compiled from agency reports