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Hameed Haroon backs HRW claims on Saleem Shahzad murder

A leading newspaper publisher in Pakistan and the president of the nationwide newspapers body has reacted sharply to charges by the Inter Services`Intelligence Agency (ISI) that allegations by Human Rights Watch of the intelligence agency’s involvement in the abduction and murder of Pakistani journalist Salim Shahzad were “baseless”.

Following is the full text of his statement, released to the media on June 1, 2010.

“It has come to my notice that a spokesman of Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) while speaking to the official national news agency in Islamabad yesterday has questioned the ‘baseless allegations’ leveled by Human Rights Watch on the basis of an email from Saleem Shahzad, the Bureau Chief of the Hong Kong based Asia Times Online, in their possession. Mr Shahzad was murdered three days ago near Islamabad after being abducted by unknown persons.

“I wish to state on record that the email in the possession of Mr Ali Dayan, the monitor for Human Rights Watch (HRW) stationed in Lahore Pakistan, is indeed one of the three identical emails sent by Mr Shahzad to HRW, his employers (Asia Times Online) and to his former employer, myself.

I also wish to verify that allegations levied by HRW at the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) are essentially in complete consonance with the contents of the slain journalist’s email “
“In their denial issued Wednesday an anonymous spokesman from the ISI has questioned the ‘baseless allegation’ leveled against ISI by Mr Dayan of HRW. I wish to state on the record for the information of the officers involved in investigating journalist Saleem Shahzad’s gruesome murder, that the late journalist confided to me and several others that he had received death threats from various officers of the ISI on at least three occasions in the past five years.

Whatever the substance of these allegations, they form an integral part of Mr Shahzad’s last testimony. Mr Shahzad’s purpose in transmitting this information to three concerned colleagues in the media was not to defame the ISI but to avert a possible fulfillment of what he clearly perceived to be a death threat. The last threat which I refer to was recorded by Mr Shahzad by email with me, tersely phrased as ‘for the record’ at precisely 4.11 am on October18, 2010, wherein he recounted the details of his meetings at the ISI headquarters in Islamabad between the Director General- Media Wing (ISI) Rear- Admiral Adnan Nazir, with the Deputy Director General of the Media Wing, Commodore Khalid Pervaiz, also being present on the occasion.

“The ostensible agenda for this meeting was the subject of Mr Shahzads’s story of Asia Times Online with respect to the Pakistan government freeing of senior Afghan Taliban commander, Mullah Baraadar. Mr Shahzad informed the senior officials that he story was leaked by a intelligence channel in Pakistan, and confirmed thereafter by the ‘most credible Taliban’s source’. The senior officials present suggested to Mr Shahzad that he officially deny the story, which he refused to do, terming the official’s demand as ‘impractical’.

“The senior intelligence official was ‘curious’ to identify the source of Mr Shahzad’s story claiming it to be a ‘shame’ that such a leak should occur from the offices of a high profile intelligence service. Mr Shahzad additionally stated that the Rear Admiral offered him some information, ostensibly ‘as a favour’ in the following words: ‘We have recently arrested a terrorist and have recovered a lot of data, diaries and other materials during the interrogation. The terrorist had a hit list with him. If I find your name on the list I will certainly let you know.’

“Mr Shahzad subsequently confirmed to me in a conversation that he not only interpreted this conversation as a veiled threat to his person. He also informed me that he let an official from the ISI know soon thereafter that he intended to share the content of this threat with his colleagues ..

“As President of the All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS) and as head of Pakistan’s leading media group I consider the the security of journalists to be of paramount importance. At present the APNS has officially committed itself to the creation of a national body for the investigations of serious threats to the lives of journalists, a body which the Committee to Protect Journalists in New York, and other leading organizations in the Pakistani press and human rights bodies have promised to lend vigorous support to. Pakistan has one of the high rates in the world for journalists killings and such an environment is inimical to the functioning of democracy. The government and the intelligence agencies should take the investigation into Mr Shahzad’s murder seriously and examine his last testimony closely.

“Whether the Oct 18th incident itself or his last article in the Asia Times Online, that alleged Al-Qaeda penetration of the security curtain for Pakistani Naval establishment in Karachi hastened his murder is for the official investigation to uncover. And nobody not even the ISI should be above the law.”

Hameed Haroon
PRESIDENT
ALL PAKISTAN NEWSPAPERS SOCIETY
KARACHI

’آئی ایس آئی کا بیان مسترد‘

حسن مجتیٰ
بی بی سی اردو ڈاٹ کام، نیویارک

پاکستان میں انگریزی روزنامہ ’ڈان‘ کے پبلشر اوراخبارات کی تنظیم آل پاکستان نیوز پییپرز سوسائٹی (اے پی این ایس) کے سربراہ حمید ہارون نے پاکستان کی خفیہ ایجنسی انٹرسروسز انٹیلیجنس (آئی ایس آئی) کے ترجمان کے اس بیان پر اپنے شدید ردعمل کا اظہار کیا ہے جس میں انہوں نے انسانی حقوق کی تنظیم ہیومن رائٹس واچ کی جانب سے لگائے گئےان الزامات کے صحافی سلیم شہزاد کے قتل میں مبینہ طور آئي ایس آئی ملوث ہے کو بے بنیاد قرار دیا تھا۔

کلِک ’صحافی کے قتل کو آئی ایس آئی کو بدنام کرنے کے لیے استعمال نہ کریں‘

حمید ہارون نے مقتول صحافی کے قتل کی تحقیقات کرنے والے حکام سے کہا ہے کہ وہ یہ بات تصدیق کے ساتھ ریکارڈ پر لانا چاہتے ہیں کہ مقتول صحافی نے انہیں بتایا تھا کہ گزشتہ پانچ برسوں میں کم از کم تین موقعوں پر آئی ایس آئی کے افسروں کی جانب سے انہیں قتل کی دھمکیاں دی گئی تھیں۔

حیمد ہارون نے جو آجکل امریکہ کے دورے پر ہیں بدھ کی شام نیویارک سےجاری کردہ اپنے بیان میں کہا ہے کہ وہ مقتول صحافی سلیم شہزاد کے سابق آجر کی حیثیت سے اس کی تصدیق کرتے ہیں کہ سلیم شہزاد کی جانب سے ہیومن رائٹس واچ کے پاکستان میں نمائندے علی حسن دایان کو بھیجیی گئي ای میلز میں واضح طور پر ان خدشات کا اظہار کیا تھا کہ ان کی زندگی کو آئی ایس آئی کی طرف سے خطرہ ہے۔

اپنے بیان میں حمید ہارون نے آئی ایس آئی کے بے نام ترجمان کی جانب سے منگل کو جاری ہونے والے پاکستانی سرکاری نیوز ایجنسی کی توسط سے ہیومن رائٹس واچ کے الزمات کو بے بنیاد قرار دیے جانے کو مسترد کرتے ہوئے کہا ’میں (حمید ہارون) یہ بات ریکارڈ پر لانا چاہتا ہوں اور اس کی تصدیق کرتا ہوں کہ ہیومن رائٹس واچ کے پاکستان کے مانیٹر علی حسن دایان کی جانب سے مقتول صحافی سلیم شہزاد کے قتل کے حوالے سے لگائے گۓ الزمات مکمل طور پر ان تین ای میلز کے ان مندرجات سے مکمل طور مطابقت رکھتے ہیں جو مقتول صحافی کی طرف سے انہیں اور اپنے موجودہ آجر ایشیا ٹائمز آن لائن کے پبلشر کوبھیجی تھیں۔

حمید ہارون نے کہا کہ ہیومن رائٹس واچ کے علی دایان حسن کے پاس بھی ان تین ای میلز میں سے ایک ای میل ہے۔

حمید ہارون کے مطابق سلیم شہزاد کی جانب سے اپنے تین ساتھیوں کو انہیں ملنے والی دھمکیوں کی اطلاعات منتقل کرنے کا مقصد آئی آیس آئی کو بدنام کرنا نہیں بلکہ اس خطرے کو ٹالنا تھا جو سلیم شہزاد اپنی زندگی کو لاحق سمجھتے تھے۔

پاکستان میں اخبارات کی تنظیم اے پی این ایس کے سربراہ نے ہیومن رائٹس کی جانب سے آئی ایس آئی پر مقتول صحافی کے حوالے سے لگائے گئے الزامات کو درست قرار دیا ہے۔

حمید ہارون نے کہا کہ مقتول صحافی سلیم شہزاد کو ملنے والی جس آخری دھمکی کا وہ حوالہ دے رہے ہیں اس کا ذکر انہوں نے یعنی مقتول صحافی نے ان کو بھیجی گئی اس ای میل میں کیا ہے جس کے اوپر انہوں نے ’برائے ریکارڈ ‘ لکھا تھا اور ان کا کہنا تھا کہ ’اٹھارہ اکتوبر سنہ دو ہزار دس کو صبح گیارہ بجے بھیجی گئی اپنی ای میل میں سلیم شہزاد نے آئی ایس آئی کے اسلام آباد میں واقع ہیڈ کوارٹر میں آئی ایس آئی کے شعبہ میڈیا کے عملداروں کے ساتھ ملاقاتوں کی تفصیل بیان کی تھی۔

سلیم شہزاد کی آ‏ئی ایس آئی کے عملداروں سے ملاقاتوں کے موقع پر آئي ایس آئی کے میڈیا ونگ کے ڈائریکٹر جنرل ریئر ایڈمرل عدنان نذیر، اور ڈپٹی ڈائریکٹر آئی ایس میڈیا ونگ کموڈور خالد پرویز بھی موجود تھے۔

حمید ہارون نے کہا ہے کہ اسی ای میل میں شہزاد سلیم نے مزید بتایا تھا کہ اس ملاقات کا ایجنڈا طالبان لیڈر ملا بردار کی پاکستانی جیل سے رہائی تھا۔ آئی ایس آئی کے عملداروں کا اصرار اس بات پر تھا کہ اس سٹوری میں ان کے ذرا‏‏ئع کون ہیں اور یہ بھی کہ وہ اس کی تردید کریں جبکہ مقتول صحافی نے ایسا کرنے سے انکار کردیا تھا۔

حمید ہارون نے کہا کہ پاکستان صحافیوں کے لیے خطرناک جگہ ہے اور انہوں نے صحافیوں کے تحفظ کی عالمی تنظیم کمیٹی ٹو پروٹیکٹ جرنلسسٹس اور انسانی حقوق کی تنظیم ہیومن رائٹس واچ سےاپیل کی کہ وہ پاکستان میں صحافیوں کی تحفظ کو یقینی بنانے کےلیے اے پی این ایس کا ساتھ دیں۔

Source: BBC Urdu

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Jehangir Hafsi

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  • Journalists rally to condemn Saleem Shahzad’s killing

    LAHORE: Journalists on Wednesday held a protest rally outside the Lahore Press Club (LPC) and shouted slogans against kidnapping, torturing and brutal killing of a colleague and senior journalist Saleem Shahzad demanding arrest of the killers.

    Saleem Shahzad was allegedly killed by intelligence agencies two days ago. According o sources, Shahzad had been kidnapped from Islamabad when he was busy performing his professional activities. His dead body, badly tortured and beaten, was recovered from Mandi Bahauddin.

    Shahzad worked for the Asia Times Online and Italian news agency Adnkronos (AKI) and delved into topics that were often considered sensitive in the country. He wrote his last article in the aftermath of the attack on PNS Mehran, which revealed al Qaeda infiltration in the navy.

    The protesters were carrying banners and placards condemning Shahzad’s murder. They strongly condemned the incident and said that the journalists were being punished for reporting the truth and facts. They demanded that an independent commission should be formed to probe the murder.

    Talking to Daily Times, LPC Executive Member Muzamal Hussain Gujjar vowed that the killing of Saleem Shahzad would not silence the journalists. He said that voices of the people, especially journalists, cannot be hushed down since all the journalist community is united against such killings.

    Senior journalist Anjum Rasheed said that the establishment was trying to gag the voice of journalists and this incident was a clear reflective of it, however, the journalists would continue speaking the truth. He said that the killing of a prominent journalist like Saleem Shehzad was a message to all journalists that they should stop speaking the truth or face the consequences.

    LPC president Sarmad Bashir, vice president Zahid Abid, council member Baba Muzamal Gujjar, senior journalists Imtiaz Alam, Anjum Rasheed, Robina Shaheen, Ahmad Huma Ali, Shabeer Qadri, Nasir Ghani, Ziaullah Niazi, Aleem Usman, Hafiz Wadood and many others also took part in the protest.

    Separately, Labour Party Pakistan also observed a candlelight protest demonstration against Shahzad’s killing, alleging involvement of some intelligence agencies in it. They chanted slogans against some security agencies, carrying anti-establishment banners and placards. A large number of female activists of the party also joined the protest.

    http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2011%5C06%5C02%5Cstory_2-6-2011_pg7_19

  • PFUJ announces 2 days mourning over killing of Saleem Shahzad

    KARACHI: The Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) has announced country wide demonstration on June 3 and rallies to protest and would observe two days mourning against brutal killing of Bureau Chief Asian Times Syed Saleem Shahzad.

    Mr. Saleem worked for an Italian news agency and a Hong Kong-registered website, had talked of threats allegedly from some quarters on a number of occasions. PFUJ will also observe 2 days mourn over killing of Mr. Shahzad

    According to the press release received here on Wednesday the PFUJ directed all its affiliated Union of Journalists to observe two days mourning over the brutal killing of the journalists, hoist black flags, and hold condolence meetings with the coordination of human rights activists, civil society, lawyers and political party’s activists.

    The 40-year-old reporter who worked for Asia Times and the Adnkronos International news agency was last seen on the Asian Times website when he left home on May 29 to take part in a television talk show but never arrived. Instead, Shahzad’s body was found near his abandoned car outside Pakistan’s capital, Islamabad. Police said the corpse showed signs of torture.

    The PFUJ condemned this blind murder and termed it a great loss to the deceased family and the journalists’ community.

    The PFUJ said that deceased was one of the most active and a professional media person in country who was attached with media for over a decade.

    It is the duty of the law enforcing agencies and Government of Pakistan and Government of Punjab to take serious notice of this blind murder and take appropriate measures for arresting the killer of the decade Syed Saleem Shahzad, the PFUJ asserted.

    The PFUJ prayed to Almighty Allah to rest the departed soul in eternal peace and grant courage and fortitude to the members of the bereaved family.

    The PFUJ also demanded to the Federal and provincial Governments of the Punjab for awarding compensation to the deceased family and to ensure the safety and protection of the media persons.

  • Pakistan a deadly place for journalists’

    ISLAMABAD: Pakistan is a “deadly country for journalists”, said a leading daily as it noted that just hours before journalist Syed Saleem Shahzad was abducted, he was warned that his work was ruffling feathers in certain quarters. Shahzad’s body, bearing torture marks, was found two days later.

    Shahzad, 40, went missing Sunday from outside his residence in Islamabad and he was said to have been picked up by Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence . His body was found near a canal Tuesday.

    A correspondent of Asia Times Online, Shahzad wrote extensively on Islamist groups. He had authored an article for Asia Times that said that Al Qaeda’s operational arm attacked Karachi’s Mehran naval base after the navy did not free sailors arrested for suspected Islamist links.

    An editorial in the Dawn Thursday said: “If the world labels Pakistan a deadly country for journalists, it is hardly off the mark.”

    The discovery on Shahzad’s body 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”.

    “Extracts from his recently published book (`Inside Al Qaeda and the Taliban’) indicates 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,” the editorial said.

    It added that for the journalistic community, Shahzad’s brutal killing is “another grim reminder of its helplessness. Journalists are under attack from not just the terrorists, but also potentially (from) 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.”

    The editorial went on to say that just hours before his abduction, Shahzad “was reportedly warned by a friend that his work was ruffling feathers in certain quarters `and these people are not benign’.”

    “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.”

  • Mr. Jahangir Hafsi & Ms Jahangir Hafsi Dr. Uzma, You and your posts and comments are doing great! Thank you for this excellent contribution!

    Regards

  • But what about the ISI cell inside the Dawn Media Group? DAWN Group seeks Naval chief’s resignation but why not Army Chief’s? (In a typical concocted letter to the ‘ISI-agent’ Editor) the demand has been made).

    What a shame… the APNS president is trying to divert the attention from his newspaper, which is run by the ISI through Editor Zaffar Abbas, involved in the attempts on Habib R. Sulemani.

    Why Hameed Haroon is silent about the attack on Habib Sulemani as detailed in this post: http://theterrorland.blogspot.com/2010/06/criminal-inquiry-sought.html