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Hillary Clinton condemns Saleem Shehzad’s brutal assassination

US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton,condemned the kidnapping and killing of Pakistani journalist. Syed Saleem Shahzad, who worked for Adn Kronos International and La Stampa writing articles and books on the collusion between al Qaeda and Pakistani security and intelligence establishment. “His enquiries on terrorism and intelligence had surfaced the issues caused by extremism and the threat for Pakistan’s stability.

“The United States strongly condemns the abduction and killing of reporter Syed Saleem Shahzad,” Ms Clinton said in a statement.

“His work reporting on terrorism and intelligence issues in Pakistan brought to light the troubles extremism poses to Pakistan’s stability,” she said.

Mrs Clinton also welcomed the investigation into the killing.

Mr Shahzad’s funeral will take place in his native city of Karachi on Wednesday. His article about al-Qaeda infiltration in Pakistan’s navy was recently published.

International and national journalists and human rights campaigners are demanding answers for the murder of Saleem Shahzad, who Human Rights Watch said, told them before he was abducted that he was under threat from the Inter-Services Intelligence, the powerful spy agency.

Saleem Shehzad’s cold blooded murder has sparked outrage in the country, with editorials, blogs and tweets calling it a “bloody chapter” in the country’s history of press safety.

On Tuesday as news of Shahzad’s murder filtered through, sending a chill through anyone connected with the profession , the journalists on the frontlines showed little signs of intimidation. Here’s an editorial from The Daily Times that minces few words :

This should also serve as an eye-opener for those who have been apologising for the military and the Taliban alike. How many more innocents have to die before we realise that our country is a war zone where no one is safe from either our so-called saviours or the terrorists. Mr Shahzad and many others like him paid the price for reporting the truth. We must stop blaming external forces for what we are facing right now. In a country where terrorists, murderers, rapists and criminals roam free, deaths of innocents are all but inevitable. How many more people will have to sacrifice their lives before we finally call a spade a spade? Pakistan is in a deep mess right now and it is all our own doing. Let’s wake up to this reality before our soil turns completely red (if it has not already) with the blood of our citizens. RIP Saleem Shahzad; we cannot condemn or mourn your death adequately in words. Our only salvation now lies in bringing Mr Shahzad’s murderers to book.

Underscoring the dangers of reporting in Pakistan, the lead piece in Dawn said today, “‘…another chapter to the bloody history of Pakistan’s press freedom record.”

The Guardian quoted Pakistan talk show host Quatrina Husain as saying : “We want an answer. We need an answer. We deserve an answer.” Others directly blamed the spy agencies.

Author Mohammad Hanif tweeted : Any journalist here who doesn’t believe that it’s our intelligence agencies ?”

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Jehangir Hafsi


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  • Outrage, grief over investigative reporter’s killing jolts Pakistan
    From ANI

    Islamabad, June 1(ANI): A surge of outrage and grief jolted Pakistan last night following the discovery of the body of a journalist who had highlighted alleged links between al-Qa’ida and the country’s military.


    It appears he had been tortured and beaten before being killed and his body dumped, The Independent reports.

    Journalists and human rights activists said they believed that Shahzad’s killing was payback not from militants, but from Pakistan’s fearsome spy agencies, The Washington Post reports.

    Shahzad’s killing has also renewed attention on the alleged crossover between militants and Pakistan’s security forces, some of which he outlined in his recent article for the Hong Kong-based Asia Times Online, for which he was the Pakistan bureau chief, the report said.

    According to Shahzad’s reporting, last week’s attack on a Karachi naval base was a response to the Pakistani Navy’s detection of al-Qaeda cells within its ranks, and it followed failed discussions between the navy and al-Qaeda about the release of naval officers arrested on suspicions of links to the terrorist group.

    Human rights campaigners, who have highlighted Pakistan as one of the most dangerous places for journalists to work, said they believed Shahzad, the 40-year-old correspondent for Asia Times Online, had been abducted by the intelligence services after the publication of an article about a recent militant attack on a naval base.

    Shahzad, who had previously been questioned by the InterServices Intelligence (ISI) agency, had warned the authorities might act against him and had even revealed a previous threat.

    “It is a sad day, nay black day, for journalism in Pakistan that a journalist was picked up from the capital and his tortured body dumped in another town while the perpetrators of this gory crime roam free. This is not the first time that a journalist has lost his life for honest reporting,” the Daily Times editorial said.

    “Journalists in Pakistan are between a rock and a hard place: they face threats both from the militants and our intelligence agencies. When journalists write or speak against terrorists, they receive threats. When they expose our military’s links with terrorists, they are harassed. Threats, harassment, abduction and even murder is what journalists in Pakistan are victims of all too frequently,” it added.

    Another Pakistani daily, Dawn, said that Tuesday added “another chapter to the bloody history of Pakistan’s press freedom record when the body of missing journalist Syed Saleem Shahzad was found.”

  • Saleem Shahzad And Links Between Al Qaeda And Pakistan Navy – Analysis

    By M Shamsur Rabb Khan

    The kidnapping and killing of Pakistani journalist Syed Saleem Shahzad has opened up a new vista of the alleged nexus between al Qaeda and the Pakistan Navy. The 40-year old Shahzad, the Pakistan Bureau Chief for Asia Times Online, a Hong Kong-based news portal, went missing on 29 May 2011 and was found dead two days later at Sarai Alamgir, 150km southeast of Islamabad. The obvious reason for his kidnapping and death is an article he wrote for the portal, entitled ‘Al-Qaeda had warned of Pakistan Strike’. In this article, he forthrightly mentions the presence of an al Qaeda cell in the Pakistani Navy and the existence of Islamic sentiments among naval officers who do not like the presence of the US in the region. Some Pakistani Navy officers have been arrested in the recent past for their alleged link with the al Qaeda.

    Shahzad, who had written extensively on the al Qaeda and Taliban terror groups in Afghanistan and Pakistan for the last ten years, also wrote that “Al-Qaeda carried out the brazen attack on PNS Mehran naval base in Karachi on May 22 after talks failed between the navy and al-Qaeda over the release of naval officials arrested on suspicion of al-Qaeda links.” According to Shahzad, the attackers of the PNS Mehran naval base were from Ilyas Kashmiri’s 313 Brigade, which is the operational arm of the al Qaeda. To make matters worse, the official who carried out the investigation against arrested naval officers was threatened by the al Qaeda of dire consequences. Shahzad also emphasized that the al Qaeda knew the whereabouts of these arrested naval officials in Karachi. How could the al Qaeda be aware of such sensitive information, unless it was supplied from within the naval establishment, who are known to sympathize with the organization? The attacks on NATO convoys in recent times seem to be the handiwork of terrorist organizations, which get tipped off by the ISI. President Obama’s decision not to involve the ISI in the Abbottabad operation is a clear case of mistrust generated by strained relations between the CIA and the ISI, wherein the former fears the latter’s proclivity to leak sensitive information to terror organizations.

    Shahzad had received threats on various occasions for his provocative writing. The ISI had warned him for writing investigative articles that allegedly had a bad effect on Pakistan’s national interests. In 2006, he was kidnapped by the Taliban in Helmand in southern Afghanistan and was accused of being a spy, but was set free after seven days of captivity. Along with his brutal death, some core issues that emerge are: To what extent have inroads been made into Pakistani establishments, especially the armed forces, by terrorist organizations? Analysts argue that the attack on PNS Mehran greatly reveals the nexus between the Pakistani Army and terror outfits, since insiders must have played a lead role in carrying out such a daring attack. And more so, as had been discussed by Shahzad, the very presence of an al Qaeda cell or even its sympathizers in the Pakistani Navy aggravates the concern of the international community of terrorist organizations taking over the command and control of the armed forces.

    There is also an ISI angle to the story. Whether it was 26/11 or the presence of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan, the ISI was usually cited as having had a role to play in the proceedings. In the case of Shahzad, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan expressed alarm about his disappearance and suspected that he might have been abducted by a state agency. The above-mentioned article of Shahzad about al Qaeda infiltration in the Pakistani Navy surely enraged the ISI, given its impeccable timing. In addition, the agency is also under pressure after David Coleman Headley’s testimony before a Chicago trial court regarding the ISI’s involvement in planning the Mumbai terror attacks of November 2008. Shahzad’s expose thus added to the imminent disrepute of its already maligned image. In a recent statement, the ISI conceded to its involvement, which was ‘limited to a handful of rogue agents’, though not the top brass.

    Shahzad’s revelations give impetus to the long-held apprehension at the global level of tacit support to terror organizations by the Pakistani Army. An even greater fear is that Pakistan’s nukes stand the risk of being handed over or taken over by the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) or the al Qaeda, if such a link continues to exist.
    The first casualty of such an event would be India, not the US. And India will retaliate with equal severity. There is, therefore, an urgent need for New Delhi to speed up political and diplomatic relations with Pakistan’s civilian government in reaching a consensus on the imminent security threat posed by the infiltration of the TTP or the al Qaeda in official establishments.

  • US Embassy condemns murder of Saleem Shahzad

    The United States Embassy in Pakistan strongly condemned the abduction and murder of Syed Saleem Shahzad.
    In a statement issued here on Wednesday, the embassy condoled to bereaved family.
    According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, since the slaying of Daniel Pearl in 2002 “at least 15 other journalists have lost their lives in intentionally targeted killings in Pakistan.”
    The statement said that US stands in solidarity with the journalists of Pakistan.

  • Diplomatic Correspondents Association condemned Shahzad’s murder

    ISLAMABAD: Diplomatic Correspondents Association of Pakistan (DCAP) on Thursday condemned the murder of Syed Saleem Shahzad, bureau chief Asia Times Online, as a shocking act of barbarism and demanded of the government to conduct a transparent inquiry for bringing the perpetrators of the heinous crime to justice.

    “The impunity enjoyed by Shahzad’s murderers is a cause of concern for all of us and we are fretful about the safety and security of other journalists,” a statement issued by DCAP said after its members staged a walkout from the weekly Foreign Office briefing to protest against the killing.

    DCAP urged the government to appoint a high powered committee led by a judge of a superior court and having representation of journalist bodies to investigate Shahzad’s murder. It noted that though Prime Minster Gilani had indicated that the incident would be investigated, but there hasn’t been any significant progress towards setting up of the commission.

    The association, which represents Islamabad based correspondents covering foreign policy issues, said it was seriously concerned about the safety of its members. “Reporting on foreign policy in a country where foreign affairs are managed By the military and intelligence agencies is always a risky proposition and a number of our members have in the past reported about threats they had received because of their work,” the statement said.

    DCAP called on ‘supporters of free press’ to raise their voice against this wanton, and senseless murder so that journalists cease to constitute a target of attack. Members stressed that the onus of proving innocence lay on those being accused of it. The allegations, they said, cannot be cast aside by statements issued by anonymous officials and disseminated through government agencies. “This time they will have to come up with credible evidence that their hands were not stained with Shahzad’s blood,”