Pakistan honours murdered reporter with top award

QUETTA, Pakistan - A Pakistani journalist who was shot dead in the southern port city of Karachi three years ago was posthumously honoured Sunday with one of the country's top civilian awards.

Wali Khan Babar, a reporter for the private Geo television station, was murdered on January 13, 2011 while returning home from work.

Earlier this month a Pakistani court convicted six men of murdering Babar in what is believed to be the first case convicting anyone for killing a journalist in the country.

On Sunday - the National Day of Pakistan - Babar was honoured with the Pride of Performance, a top civilian award granted to people who excel in their work.

The governor of the southwestern Baluchistan province, from where the late journalist hailed, handed out the award to Babar's brother Murtaza Khan Babar.

"This award is not a replacement for my martyr brother, but I am happy that his services have been recognised," Murtaza Khan Babar told AFP.

A special anti-terrorist court handling the murder case sentenced two of the absconding accused to death and four others, who had been arrested, to life imprisonment.

Pakistan remains one of the world's most difficult and dangerous countries for journalists.

According to media campaign group Reporters Without Borders, last year seven journalists were killed doing their jobs in Pakistan, which was 158th out of 180 countries in its press freedom ranking.