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Copies of newspaper torched, correspondent threatened

(PPF/IFEX) - Copies of "Mashriq", a local daily, were snatched and set on fire by a group of armed men on December 3, 2011. The incident occurred in Bannu district, Khyber-Pakhtunkhuwa province of Pakistan.

According to news reports, six armed men intercepted news agent Muhammad Khalil and driver Akhtar Nawaz at 5:45 am when they were on their way to deliver copies of the newspaper.

Ashraf Nisar, a "Mashriq" chief reporter, told PPF that the newspaper's correspondent in Bannu, Niaz Ali Shah, received a threatening phone call on the night of December 2, 2011, in which he was warned not to file a news item regarding corruption by the Minister for Labor and Manpower Sher Azam Wazir.

Nisar said the government has not issued a statement about the incident.

The All-Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS) strongly condemned the incident and called it an attack on freedom of the press. The APNS demanded that Chief Minister Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Ameer Haider Hoti take notice of the incident and punish those involved.

Journalists staged protest rallies in the towns of Bannu, Lakki Marwat, Tank and Miramshah.

Khalil filed a report (First Information Report) against the minister and his men with the police.

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