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Sunday, June 18, 2006

One More Journalist Bites The Dust

On December 05, 2005 Hidayatullah Khan a journalist working for Daily Ausaf and European Press Photo Agency (EPA) was kidnapped in Mir Ali, North Waziristan Agency.

In a news reported by the Daily News Mike Spangler the US Consul in Peshawar denied any knowledge of Khan's whereabouts as late as May 10, 2006.

(But to put this in perspective it is not only God who works in mysterious ways. The US administration also works mysteriously.)

His purported crime was reporting that Abu Hamza Rabia, an alleged al Qaeda operative of Egyptian/Syrian origins, had been likely killed by a US missile and not in a bomb making accident as reported by the Government of Pakistan (GoP) on December 01, 2005. He had photographed shrapnel from a Hellfire missile allegedly fired by a US drone.

Since December Reporters Sans Frontiers, Amnesty International, Committee to Protect Journalist, Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists and other human rights organizations have been raising concerns over his whereabouts. GoP denied any knowledge. His relatives think he was being held by US Forces.

Yesterday his body was found three miles outside of Mir Ali. He was handcuffed and was shot once in the back of the head.

This report has been compiled from various sources


This kidnapping and murder raises several issues.

Sovereignty. Who exactly exercises sovereignty in the tribal belt - Pakistan or the U.S?

This is not the first occasion when GoP has been made to hold the bag. From bases, air corridor, troops and personnel movement, the GoP has relented time and again. It has also looked the other way when 'alien' forces have conducted clandestine operations in the tribal belt.

The other issue related with this is that of Law and Order. Whose writ holds in that region? If after 59 years the writ of Islamabad is not imposed on this territory than it speaks volumes. Impotence? Collusion?

Human Rights This kidnapping and murder is in violation of both the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Bill of Rights .

We live in a dichotomous world where vested interests collude with governments to create phobias against targeted individuals and organizations and diverting the same attention away from the various states' and governments' actions.

For my money, equal scrutiny should apply for both. Loss of a human life is loss of life. More so when that human being is a civilian. The dichotomy I referred to becomes so obvious. We exercise two set of rules. One for us, a different one for others.

Individuals, organizations, states and governments indulging in this gross travesty should be held accountable to a uniform system of judgement and punishment.

The murderer/s of Hidayaullah Khan should face justice and retribution, not of the divine kind.


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