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Geo TV reporter gunned down in front of Liaqatabad PS

14 January, 2011

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KARACHI: Wali Khan Babar, a reporter working for Geo News, was gunned down in a targeted attack on Thursday night in Liaqatabad. Babar, 29, was the first reporter to die in the line of duty in Pakistan in 2011.

According to police, the bullet riddled body of Wali Khan Babar was found in his car, AEE-613, near the Super Market shopping centre, Liaqatabad, in the Super Market police jurisdiction.

The incident was reported to the police by the area people who found the body of Babar in his silver colour Suzuki Cultus car. The incident occurred at a spot which i. opposite to the SSP office of Liaqatabad Town and Liaqatabad police station.

According to Geo News, the reporter was on his way back home from Geo News office, when he was attacked by terrorists. Reports said Babar’s car was stopped by terrorists who, after making identification, shot him dead.

Geo News said it was an incident of target killing, with Babar receiving at least five bullets — two on forehead, one on jaw and two in neck. According to hospital sources, Wali received at least five bullets.

On the other hand, SSP Liaqatabad Naveed Nisar Khwaja told The News that Wali Khan was visiting some person, who killed him from point blank range. His colleagues at Geo said that all Thursday morning the reporter was involved in covering the police operation against criminal elements at Pehalwan Goth. He then went to the channel and filed a report, which was aired at 9 pm. Babar was killed around 9:21 pm.

After hearing about the murder, colleagues at Geo and other journalists rushed to the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital, where the body had been taken. MQM leaders, including Faisal Sabzwari, and ANP politicians also visited the hospital. The channel broke the news after the family of Babar residing in Block N, North Nazimabad, was notified.

Colleagues at Geo described Babar as hard working and knowledgeable. “He was well read and articulate in expressing his thoughts,” said an assignment editor at Geo. Wali Khan had first joined Geo English in 2007 and in 2008 was associated with Geo News.

Visibly distressed at the tragedy, a senior producer at Geo told The News that Babar tried to find unique and exclusive angles to stories that he covered. “During the Swat operation, he did a story that because of disturbance in the valley, the supply of apples to Karachi had stopped,” said the producer concerned, who had rushed to the hospital after hearing the news. “Wali was passionate about his stories and took lot of pains to cover them. He was a crusading journalist who, besides other issues, reported on violence in the city.”

“The dust that had gathered on his shoes while working at Pehalwan Goth the whole day was still there at the time of his death,” said a colleague at the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital. “He died with boots on.” An accolade that best describes the life and death of the budding journalist.

Our correspondent in Lahore adds: Political leadership has condemned the tragic killing of Wali Khan Babar in Karachi. PML-N leaders including Ch Shujaat Hussain and Ch Pervaiz Elahi slated the incident and prayed for the departed soul.

Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaaf (PTI) Chairman Imran, in another statement, expressed deep regret over the killing and said it seemed the government wasn’t serious to solve the issue of target killings.

APP adds: President Asif Zardari and Interior Minister Rehamn Malik have strongly condemned the killing of Wali Khan Babar. The president called for a report from the authorities concerned. He also conveyed his condolences to the bereaved family. The interior minister has directed the IG Sindh to present a report on killing of young journalist.

Courtesy: Geo News

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