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Journalist injured in attempted kidnapping

(PPF/IFEX) - Imran Khan, reporter of Din news channel and NNI news agency in Bajaur, and his 14-year-old sister sustained bullet wounds when unidentified armed militants in army and Frontier Corps (FC) uniforms made an attempt to kidnap the journalist near his house in Khar, the headquarters of the Bajaur tribal region, on April 14, 2010.

Khan told PPF he believed he was targeted because of his journalism work. He said he was walking with his two cousins, Irfanullah and Abdul Rasheed, towards their house at around 7 p.m. when about 10 armed persons in FC and Pakistan army uniforms intercepted them and asked about the house of Taliban commander Sardar-ud-Din. Khan told them that he did not know anything about the Taliban. Khan recognized them as local militants because they had long hair and were not properly dressed like FC or army soldiers. They tried to kidnap him and opened indiscriminate fire on him when he put up resistance.

Khan said they were very near his house, and because of the noise of the attack his uncle Noor Muhammad, who is also a reporter for NNI news agency, and his sister, Sabahun, came outside. Gunmen also fired on them. Muhammad narrowly escaped injury but the journalist and his sister sustained serious injuries.

According to Khan, soon after the incident Iqbal Khattak, an assistant political agent, rushed to the spot and moved the injured persons to the Agency Headquarters Hospital in Khar.

Khan was shot in the foot. His hand, back and shoulder were also injured, while his sister was shot in the leg. They were later transferred to Lady Reading Hospital, Peshawar, where they remain in stable condition.

Muhammad, Khan's uncle, told PPF that Army Col. Nauman Saeed confirmed that the gunmen in army and FC dress were not army personnel.

Hasbanullah Khan, President of the Bajaur press club, told PPF that the press club strongly condemns the attack on the journalist and demands that the government provide security for journalists.

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