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Mukarram Khan Atif, Pakistani journalist and reporter, was shot and killed


Mukarram Khan Atif was a Pakistani journalist and reporter working for Dunya News and Deewa Radio.[1] He was killed in Pakistan on January 17, 2012 by the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan because of his anti-Taliban reporting.[2][3][4] He was the first reporter killed in Pakistan in 2012.[5]

(Birth: unknown – Death: January 17, 2012) 

Personal life

Mukarram Khan Atif had one wife and no children. He had arrangements to marry a second wife in February, 2012.[6] He had two brothers, the younger one named Muslim Khan.[7] Mukarram Khan Atif and his family were native to the Mohmand tribal region.[8] They were relocated after receiving threats from militants to Shabqadar, a subdivision of the Charsadda district roughly 15 miles north of Peshawar.[4]

Career

Mukarram Khan Atif was a reporter for Dunya TV and Deewa Radio, a Pashto language radio channel of the Voice of America’s Pashto language service.[9][10] He had been working for Deewa Radio since 2006.[2] Atif was also the President of the Mohmand Agency Press Club.[3]
Safiullah, the bureau chief of Dunya TV, stated that Atif was a pleasant, hard worker. David Ensor, director for Voice of America,
stated “Atif risked his life on a daily basis to provide his audience
with fair and balanced news from this critical region and we mourn the
loss of our colleague.”[2] Atif was trained to educate journalists on how to protect themselves.[6]

Death

On January 17, 2012 Mukarram Khan Atif was praying in a mosque near Peshawar after sunset.[11]
Local police officers told reporters that two armed men came in and
killed him with several shots, some to the head. They fled on
motorcycles.[12] Nasruminallah, an Imam at the mosque, was also injured in the attack.[1][3]
Atif was taken to Lady Reading Hospital in Peshawar where Rahim Jan, a senior doctor, stated that he was dead before he arrived.[5][12]
His funeral prayer was offered on the Subhan Khur high school
grounds. Police were present to avert any unwanted actions at the
funeral and burial grounds.[6]
Despite the fears of attack, many different people, including members
of Tribal Union of Journalists and journalists from Peshawar, attended
the funeral. No government officials attended. Atif was buried in
Akhwand Zafar Baba graveyard of Shabqadar.[13]

Tehrik-i-Taliban claim responsibility

Ehsanullah Ehsan, a spokesperson for the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, claimed responsibility for Atif’s murder.[3]
In a telephone conversation with Peshawar journalists, Ehsan stated “We
have been warning him to stop his propaganda against us in the foreign
media. He did not include our version in his stories.”[14]

Reactions

Many people condemned Mukarram Khan Atif’s murder. The list includes:

  • The United States embassy in Pakistan.
    • On January 18, 2012 The United States Embassy in Pakistan condemned
      Atif’s murder stating “Mr. Atif’s reporting on security and extremism
      from the tribal belt brought to light the threat extremism poses to the
      peace and stability of Pakistan and the region. We admire his commitment
      to finding the truth wherever it led him, in accordance with the
      highest principles of his profession. We urge a full and transparent
      investigation that identifies the culprits of this crime and brings them
      to justice.The United States stands in solidarity with the journalists
      of Pakistan. A free and open press is the best guarantee of the freedom
      and security of the Pakistani people.”[15]
  • Irina Bokova, Director-General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).[8]
  • Tanvir Shahzad, president of the Electronic Media Reporters Association
    • Shahzad asked the government to take action against those
      responsible. He stated that “Atif’s death is irreparable loss; he was a
      brave and dedicated journalist.”[16]
  • Dr. Firdous Ashiq Aawan, Minister for Information and Broadcasting[17]
  • Tariq Chaudhry, acting president for Pakistan Federal Union of Journalist and Secretary General Amin Yousuf[10]

In response to Atif’s death, Reporters Without Borders
stated “The Pakistani authorities must at all costs take action to
protect journalists, especially those who are subjected to threats.
Otherwise, there will be no improvement in conditions.”[18]

To see more of who died in 2011 click here

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