Gunmen today shot dead a Pakistani TV journalist in the northwestern Swat valley, police said. Haroon Khan, who was working as stringer for the local Mashriq Television channel, was standing outside his house when he was attacked. “Two armed men opened fire on Khan who died on the spot,” senior local police official Sohaib Ashraf told AFP. He said the attackers quickly disappeared before anybody could intercept them. Another local police official, Muhammad Ali, confirmed the incident. No group has so far claimed responsibility, Ashraf said.
Pakistan is among the world’s most dangerous countries for journalists. Swat has been held up as a success story in Pakistan’s fight against Taliban and Al-Qaeda-linked militants by local security forces, which ended a Taliban insurgency in the area. Once a popular tourist destination, the scenic valley slipped out of Islamabad’s control in July 2007 after radical cleric Maulana Fazlullah mounted a violent campaign to enforce Islamic sharia law. Pakistan launched a blistering air and ground offensive in the valley after militants marched out of Swat and advanced to within 100 kilometres (60 miles) of the capital Islamabad in April 2009.
Taliban gunmen tried to kill teenage activist Malala Yousafzai in 2012 in Swat for her outspoken views on girls’ education. Malala survived and in October 2014 became the youngest winner of the Nobel Peace Prize for her courageous and determined fight for all children to have the right to go to school.