The Pakistani journalist wins the Kate Webb prize from AFP

The Pakistani journalist wins the Kate Webb prize from AFP

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Asad Hashim was named as the winner of the Kate Webb Prize of Agence France-Presse 2018 for his grim message about the plight of ethnic Pashtuns and blasphemy in his native Pakistan

Asad Hashim was named as the winner of the Kate Webb Prize of Agence France-Presse 2018 for his grim message about the plight of ethnic Pashtuns and blasphemy in his native Pakistan

Freelance reporter Asad Hashim was named as the winner of the Kate Webb award of Agence France-Presse in 2018 for his coverage of the plight of ethnic Pashtuns and blasphemy in his native Pakistan.

The prize, named after one of AFP's best correspondents, recognizes journalism by locally employed journalists in Asia who operate under risky or difficult circumstances.

Hashim, 33, was honored for a series of articles on ethnic Pashtuns and other minority groups who were caught in the crossfire of Pakistan's struggle against militants.

These include a research report on enforced disappearances allegedly carried out by the country's powerful army and a reporting mission to the tribal region of South Waziristan – birthplace of the Pakistani Taliban – to investigate the civilian toll of landmines.

Pakistan has been struggling for its own power for nearly 15 years, killing tens of thousands of people, and insurgents retain the ability to carry out devastating attacks despite recent security improvements.

"These are challenging times for journalists in Pakistan, and Asad Hashim's work stands out for the kind of courageous, independent reporting that the Kate Webb award has been made to recognize," said AFP Regional Director Asia-Pacific, Philippe Massonnet.

"His deeply researched articles address sensitive subjects with an admirable balance of passion, commitment and journalistic detachment."

The award also recognized its work on other very sensitive issues, such as the blasphemy laws of Pakistan and the legal system of the country.

"I am honored by the jury's decision to select my work this year," Hashim said after hearing that he was the winner of the 2018 prize.

Kate Webb describes the wars, disasters and coups that forged modern Asia

Kate Webb describes the wars, disasters and coups that forged modern Asia

Kate Webb describes the wars, disasters and coups that forged modern Asia

"I consider the award not only as recognition of my work, but of all Pakistani journalists who have worked in an increasingly limited reporting environment over the past year."

The Kate Webb Prize, with a scholarship of 3,000 euros, honors journalists working in dangerous or difficult conditions in Asia and is named after a crusading AFP reporter who died at the age of 64 in 2007, after a career that caused the problems of the world spanned.

The prize, which in 2017 went to Myanmar-journalist Mratt Kyaw Thu for his brave coverage of ethnic and religious conflicts in his homeland, is managed by AFP and the Webb family.

The prize is formally presented during a ceremony in March.

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