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Nighttime attack on home of cartoonist Muhammad Zahoor

(RSF/IFEX) - Reporters Without Borders condemns an attack by gunmen on the Peshawar home of "Daily Times" cartoonist Muhammad Zahoor at around 2 a.m. (local time) on 25 May 2007. The attackers tried to break in after Zahoor, wary of the danger, refused to open the door when they rang the bell. But a watchman intervened, and the intruders fled in a car with tinted windows. As they left, they fired shots at the watchman, who was not hit. Zahoor and the watchman reported the attack to the police, who are investigating. Four-time winner of the All Pakistan Newspaper Society's annual best cartoonist award, Zahoor has drawn many cartoons in recent weeks on the chief justice of the Supreme Court's dismissal.

Reporters Without Borders has also protested a grenade attack on the home of Nasrullah Afridi, the correspondent for the Urdu-language daily "Mashriq" in the Khyber Agency tribal areas. Three grenades were thrown on 26 May at his family's home in Hayatabad, near Peshawar, causing damage to the property but no injuries (see previous IFEX alert of 28 May 2007).

"The attack was clearly a direct result of the death threats made against Afridi five days earlier by the head of Lashkar-i-islam," the press freedom organisation said. "We call on the local authorities to give him adequate protection. We also call for the immediate closure of the illegal FM radio stations used by the extremist leader to broadcast his hate messages."

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