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SENIOR REPORTER GUNNED DOWN

Pakistani authorities should not allow the murder last week of a veteran Pakistani reporter in Rawalpindi to go uninvestigated and unprosecuted, say the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and Reporters Without Borders (RSF).

Raja Assad Hameed, a senior reporter for the English-language daily "The Nation" and Waqt TV Channel, was shot four times at close range by unidentified assailants at his home in Rawalpindi, a city near Islamabad, reports the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ), an IFJ affiliate. He died in hospital.

According to PFUJ, police say they have no clear motive for the killing, and are not sure if it is related to Hameed's work as a journalist.

While government officials were quick to denounce the killing and promise a full investigation, not since the murder of U.S. "Wall Street Journal" reporter Daniel Pearl in 2002 has a journalist's killer been brought to trial in Pakistan, says CPJ.

"The aura of impunity surrounding the killings of journalists that arose during the (Pervez) Musharraf government continues to be a harsh reality in Pakistan," said CPJ.

Journalists from across Pakistan who gathered in Faisalabad last weekend for a PFUJ meeting held a demonstration to protest continuing violence against journalists and to appeal again to the authorities to take serious action, reports IFJ.

Visit these links:
- CPJ, "Reporter shot and killed in Rawalpindi": http://tinyurl.com/d6uwgd
- IFJ, "IFJ mourns another journalist killed in Pakistan": http://tinyurl.com/cze6ey
- RSF, "Veteran reporter gunned down outside his home in Rawalpindi": http://www.rsf.org/article.php3?id_article=30696
(1 April 2009)

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