SHIKARPUR - An anti-terrorism court has sentenced two persons to death and awarded life imprisonment to four others for killing a TV journalist.

Judge Mushtaq Ahmed Leghari awarded death penalty to Kamran alias Zeeshan and Faisal Mota for killing Wali Khan Babar, who was shot dead while returning from office in 2011.

Four others - Naveed Polka, Muhammad Ali Rizvi, Faisal Mahmood and Muhammad Shahrukh Khan - were given life sentences.

The judge said there was clear evidence that all six were involved in the killing of the journalist.

Another accused, Shakeel, was freed for lack of evidence.

The case created a stir in media circles and highlighted the amount of danger the media faces in all parts of the country while discharging their duties.

During the investigations of the case, the investigating officer, two witnesses and four others were also murdered in Karachi prompting the authorities to shift the case to the anti-terrorism court in Shikarpur jail.

One of the men convicted, Muhammad Shahrukh Khan, said in a videotaped confession posted on YouTube that he had been asked to follow Babar home from work by an activist from the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM).

The MQM denies any link to Khan or the other killers. Khan said he followed Babar and called in the route to the MQM activist. Moments later, a man he had met at the activist’s house shot Babar to death, he said.

“The traffic had come to a complete halt. Zeeshan was on foot. He was wearing a cap and pants. He stepped in front of Wali Babar’s car and fired six to seven times.

He had a black pistol,” he said in the YouTube confession, which was authenticated to Reuters by the prosecutor.

The activist and the gunman were never caught but the court sentenced them to death in absentia, said prosecutor Abdul Maroof. One man was acquitted and Khan and three others were sentenced to life in prison.

The MQM denies any involvement. “None of the workers convicted by the court are members of the MQM. MQM does not tolerate violence,” said party spokesman Nadir Jamal. “They were never affiliated with the MQM. I have verified it today.”