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Journalist Kamal Asfar, brother of murdered journalist Aamir Wakil, escapes assassination attempt

(RSF/IFEX) - Reporters Without Borders has urged the Pakistani authorities to act immediately to protect Kamal Asfar, a journalist for the "Ash-Sharq" (The East) magazine, who escaped a murder attempt on 1 February 2009. His brother, journalist Aamir Wakil, was killed in Rawalpindi on 24 January.

"I am lucky to be alive today," Asfar told the worldwide press freedom organisation. Two bearded men fired several shots at his car near Kundyali, in the Kohat district, on 1 February, he said.

"I was returning to Rawalpindi when a white car overtook us and tried to make us pull up. Two armed men turned towards us and opened fire. The first time they fired I didn't stop. Then they shot again, shattering the windscreen. I lost control of the vehicle and we left the road. Luckily we got out safely," Asfar said, adding that he reported the attack to police in Ghumbat, Kohat district.

Asfar said he thought the attack may have been motivated by articles he wrote recently in "Ash-Sharq" about the Pakistani Taliban. He also reported on religious parties, Kashmir and the situation in Afghanistan, he said.

Police have made no arrests in connection with the murder of his brother Wakil but Asfar said he gave two names of suspects - both hired killers - to the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ), which they had passed on to the interior ministry.

"Taking into consideration the determination of the killers, the local and federal authorities should take the necessary steps to protect Kamal Asfar," Reporters Without Borders said. "If the killers can target two brothers, both of them journalists, it is because they feel they can act with an impunity, which has unfortunately become the rule in Pakistan".

For further information on the Wakil case: http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/100286

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