Pakistan Mourns Slain Journalist Syed Saleem Shahzad

June 2nd, 2011 - by admin

Al Jazeera & The Pakistan Daily Times & The Dawn & – 2011-06-02 00:48:14

Pakistan Mourns Slain Journalist
Imtiaz Tyab / Al Jazeera

ISLAMABAD (June 1, 2011) — Hundreds of mourners gathered in the Pakistani city of Karachi for the funeral of slain Saleem Shahzad — a journalist who investigated al-Qaeda’s alleged infiltration of the country’s navy.
On Tuesday, Shahzad’s body was found with marks of torture in a canal near the capital Islamabad after disappearing for two days.

Syed Saleem Shahzad had earlier told a rights activist he had been threatened by the country’s intelligence agencies.

Journalists Protest Shehzad’s Killing
Staff Report 
/ The Pakistan Daily Times

ISLAMABAD (June 2, 2011) — Journalists, civil society organizations, and students Wednesday protested the brutal killing of a prominent journalist Saleem Shehzad in front of National Press Club. The protestors demanded a high-level probe into the heinous crime.

The journalists said this was not the first time a journalist paid with his life after he unearthed unpalatable facts. In the past we have been witness to the deaths of many brave journalists in Pakistan, especially in Balochistan, FATA and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

No wonder then that Pakistan has been dubbed as the most dangerous place for journalists by Reporters without Borders, said the protestors.

Journalists in Pakistan walk a difficult terrain: they face threats both from the militants and our intelligence agencies. When journalists write or speak against terrorists they receive threats and when they expose our military’s links with terrorists they are harassed.

The protestors also said funeral prayer for Shehzad in absentia. The journalistic community also demanded the government to take corrective measures urgently to protect the lives of journalists.

Autopsy of the corpse was performed at Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) and then was taken to Shehzad’s hometown Karachi for burial.

Hundreds Mourn Slain Pakistani Journalist

The Shock of a Journalist’s Murder
The Dawn

ISLAMABAD (June 2, 2011) — If the world labels Pakistan a deadly country for journalists, it is hardly off the mark. The discovery on Tuesday of the body of veteran journalist Syed Saleem Shahzad, and the circumstances under which he appears to have been killed, reflects the degree of impunity with which elements seeking to silence journalistic voices can operate.

Mr Shahzad was the bureau chief of the Hong Kong-based web publication Asia Times Online, and the Italian news agency Adnkronos. He earlier worked with The Star, a sister concern of this newspaper, for over a decade. He disappeared late Sunday evening in Islamabad. His body, bearing the marks of torture, was found barely two days later interred in a graveyard in Mandi Bahauddin.

By all accounts, Mr Shahzad was a man who knew too much. He had recently written a story about a Pakistan Navy investigation into suspected Al Qaeda sympathisers among its lower cadres. Extracts from his recently published book indicate that he was in possession of facts that could prove unsettling for elements within the security establishment.

Given this, there are suspicions that some sections of the latter may have been involved in his murder. An international human rights organisation has alleged that this was indeed the case. The theory is substantiated by the uncharacteristic speed with which a post-mortem was conducted by the police and the burial of his body arranged. This is not the first time that the security agencies have been accused of targeting journalists; most recently, Umar Cheema of The News was kidnapped and beaten up last September.

For the journalistic community, Mr Shahzad’s death is another grim reminder of its helplessness. Journalists are under attack from not just the terrorists, but also potentially sections of the state’s security apparatus. Yet never is any such case investigated; no persecutor is brought to book. Pakistan is a deadly place for journalists not just because they are killed — that happens elsewhere too — but because the state refuses to pursue the cases. The message is that journalists can be silenced with impunity.

Ironically, just hours before his abduction, Mr Shahzad was reportedly warned by a friend that his work was ruffling feathers in certain quarters “and these people are not benign. Who has ever held the agencies or their allies accountable for anything in our country?”

Mr Shahzad paid with his life for this lack of accountability; so too may many more until the state stops shielding those who deal in death in the name of opaque security paradigms. The onus is on the security agencies to prove they had no role in his murder.

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