Senior Journalist Khalil Jibran Afridi Gunned Down in Landikotal

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Ashrafuddin Pirzada

LANDIKOTAL: Unidentified gunmen shot dead senior tribal journalist and former Landikotal press club president Khalil Jibran Afridi while his friend was injured in an attack in Mazrina locality of Landikotal in district Khyber, sources said on Tuesday.

Local journalists said that Khalil Afridi and Sajjad Shinwari advocate were returning in a car from a friend’s home in the Mazrina locality in Khyber Sultankhel area where they were attacked.

Residents told this correspondent that gunmen offloaded Khalil Afridi and sprayed him with bullets, causing his death on the spot. They said Sajjad Shinwari’s advocate also sustained bullet injuries.

District Police Officer Salim Abbas Kulachi confirmed the incident, stating that militants intercepted the car near Mazrina village, forced Khalil Afridi out and shot his bullets. The assailants fled the scene after committing the crime.

Khalil Afridi had reportedly received repeated threats from militants before the attack, DPO Khyber confirmed.
Later, the body and the injured were transported to Landikotal headquarters hospital.

Locals noted that Afridi’s body lay on the road for three hours before Landikotal police arrived.

In September 2023, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) issued a written threat pamphlet to journalists in Khyber and Waziristan, warning them to support their agenda or face dire consequences.

Khalil Afridi, known for his bold reporting and human rights advocacy, had previously survived two militant attacks.

Khalil Jibran’s assassination has prompted Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Ali Amin Gandapur and Governor Faisal Karim Kundi to demand immediate action to apprehend the culprits.

Meanwhile, local journalists and political party workers arranged a protest rally in Sultankhel markets in Khyber, blocking the Pak-Afghan highway for several hours and demanding justice for Khalil Afridi.

The Association of Electronic Media Editors and News Directors (AEMEND) condemned the murder and urged the authorities to bring Afridi’s killers to justice. They criticized the ongoing threats and violence faced by journalists across the country.

In response, the Tribal Union of Journalists and Pakhtunkhwa Union of Journalists gave a nationwide protest call on Friday to demand better protection for journalists.

Eighteen tribal journalists have so far been martyred in tribal districts while several have been injured in the decads militancy so far.

Khalil Jibran Afridi’s funeral prayer was offered in Landikotal participated by thousands of locals, political leaders, social workers, Pashtun Tahafuz Movement(PTM) leaders and journalists from merged districts.
It may be noted here that the district police officer, deputy commissioner Khyber, assistant commissioner Landikotal and other civil and military officials did not participate in the funeral prayer of Khalil Jibran Afridi.