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Journalist attacked, seriously injured in tribal area

(PPF/IFEX) - Khalil Khan Afridi, a senior journalist and former president of the Tribal Union of Journalists (TUJ), was attacked with a hand grenade on September 21, 2011 as he was returning home from a nearby Hujra (guest house) in Landikotal, the capital of restive Khyber Agency, of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) of Pakistan.

Afridi told PPF he believed he was targeted because of his journalistic work. He was returning home alone at around 9:00 p.m. when he was targeted with a hand grenade and fell unconscious. He received injuries to his head and legs. Locals rushed him to the local hospital where doctors treated him. According to him, some of the grenade pellets embedded in his head and legs could not be removed as the machines at the hospital were out of order.

Press reports quoting local journalists said it was clear that Afridi was the assailants' main target, as he was alone at the time of the attack.

Safdar Hayyat Khan Dawar, president of the TUJ, Wali Khan Shinwari, President of the Landikotal Press Club, and a large number of tribal journalists condemned the assault on Afridi and demanded that the government provide security to all journalists working in the FATA. Dawar said journalists in FATA are easy targets for terrorists. Dawar told PPF that the attack was evidence of the unsafe conditions for tribal journalists, who are vulnerable to such attacks any time.

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