Why the murder of journalist Saleem Shahzad matters


by Sunny
31st May, 2011 at 6:14 pm    

Pakistani TV is reporting that the body found today of a dead man was indeed that of journalist Saleem Shahzad. I hadn’t heard of this case earlier but I’ve been horrified by it.

A few days ago Shahzad wrote an investigative article for Asia Times pointing out that Al-Qaeda elements and the Pakistani navy had been negotiating over some prisoners. When the talks broken down, Karachi naval base got bombed.

Al-Qaeda carried out the brazen attack on PNS Mehran naval air station 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, an Asia Times Online investigation reveals.

Pakistani security forces battled for 15 hours to clear the naval base after it had been stormed by a handful of well-armed militants.

Shahzad was Asia Times Online’s Pakistan Bureau Chief. He pointed out that the Pakistani security forces were getting worried that senior people were harbouring sympathies for al-Qaeda. When these people were arrested, al-Qaeda elements got involved and eventually stormed the base.

A few days ago, before the second part of the investigation was published, Saleem Shahzad went missing. Human Rights Watch pointed said the Pakistani ISI had him. Now he’s found dead, with signs that he was tortured. Sickening.

Ahsan Butt on FiveRupees is spot on:

I literally cannot believe that the ISI acted with such impunity. They can pick someone one up, torture and murder them, and expect absolutely no legal recrimination.

Remember, these people’s job is to protect us. But they torture and kill us, and protect Osama bin Laden and Hafiz Saeed instead.

They do this in Balochistan most every day, what with student activists, nationalists, and regular party workers ending up in gutters, but they have made the entirely rational calculation that no one in Pakistan cares about Balochistan — watch the video in this Cafe Pyala post if you don’t believe me. This feels somehow different, because his abduction was front page news. And yet they still went ahead and killed him.

This isn’t just about the intimidation and murder of journalists. This is also about hiding the truth that Pakistan has more to fear from Al-Qaeda and militants than it does from the Americans. But since the media is intimidated into keeping quiet the true extent of al-Qaeda infiltration.


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Filed in: Current affairs,Pakistan,South Asia






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  1. sunny hundal

    Blogged: : Why the murder of journalist Saleem Shahzad matters http://bit.ly/lxqOnh


  2. Emrys Schoemaker

    RT @sunny_hundal: Blogged: : Why the murder of journalist #SaleemShahzad matters http://bit.ly/lxqOnh


  3. David McMillan

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  4. Zubeda Mir

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  5. Ryan D

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  6. Rebecca Klein

    RT @sunny_hundal: Blogged: : Why the murder of journalist #SaleemShahzad matters http://bit.ly/lxqOnh


  7. Asim Haneef

    RT @sunny_hundal: Why the murder of journalist Saleem Shahzad matters http://t.co/3vOJcEI


  8. Emma Passmore

    RT @sunny_hundal: Why the murder of journalist Saleem Shahzad matters http://t.co/l1ClyA4


  9. Philippe Nadouce

    RT @sunny_hundal: Why the murder of journalist Saleem Shahzad matters http://t.co/l1ClyA4


  10. Naadir Jeewa

    At @pickledpolitics , "Why the murder of journalist Saleem Shahzad matters": http://bit.ly/kZPboz


  11. World Have Your Say

    One blog's take on why Saleem Shahzad's murder matters: http://bit.ly/k2thWR What does this killing say about Pakistan? #whys #saleemshahzad


  12. Glenda Kwek

    One blog's take on why Saleem Shahzad's murder matters: http://bit.ly/k2thWR What does this killing say about Pakistan? #whys #saleemshahzad


  13. Linda

    One blog's take on why Saleem Shahzad's murder matters: http://bit.ly/k2thWR What does this killing say about Pakistan? #whys #saleemshahzad


  14. "Syed Saleem Shahzad RIP" and related posts | The One World Focus

    [...] Why the murder of journalist Saleem Shahzad matters - Pickled Politics [...]




  1. Cluebot — on 1st June, 2011 at 3:53 am  

    Wot, no comments? No one to pin this on the Americans, or better yet, on the joooos?

  2. earwicga — on 1st June, 2011 at 5:09 am  
  3. latest mobiles — on 1st June, 2011 at 12:40 pm  

    Interesting! I have been looking for this info for the last few hours.

  4. Shamit — on 1st June, 2011 at 5:02 pm  

    I am sure it was a conspiracy by Raw and other Indian agencies to give Pakistan and ISI a bad name. After all, its never their fault – isn’t it?

    Its high time the whole of Pakistan ask whether it is worth it to take funding away from education, health and fuel this paranoia about Indian takeover?

    As a Pakistani commentator wrote the other day the country has two alternative narratives it can embrace – one its a failed state because it had no clue about OBL living next door to its premier military training institute or its a rogue state because it is in collusion.

    The Headley trial in the US highlights the role the Pakistani state plays in using terror as a tool for foreign policy and their involvement in 26/11 in Mumbai.

    But nah its not Pakistan’s fault – it was India, Afghanistan and the US that killed the journalist.

  5. joe90 — on 1st June, 2011 at 10:32 pm  

    hope the authorities catch the killers and execute some kind of justice, that is highly unlikely seeing cases of raymond davies and others recently.

    Pity there wasn’t such an outcry when 14 women and children where turned into dust by american drones the other day! A little consistency in coverage would be nice or don’t they matter?

  6. Boyo — on 2nd June, 2011 at 7:32 am  

    Right on time, there’s Joe90…

    Joe. Try to work this out: the ISI/ Pakistani establishment have been supporting the Taliban/ AQ for years in order to further their own agenda, be it to control Afghanistan or distract US attention from their nuclear programme. Without this activity (and certainly was Pakistan an American ally in anything but name) there would be little US activity and the conflict in Afghanistan would have ended long ago.

    Do you think the US actually wants to be there? Is there oil in them thar hills?

    One can understand why Islamism is strong in Pakistan when the country is so corrupt. Yet it is unlikely a Taliban-lite would alter any of the above factors. Indeed if anything it would make it worse when it failed to deliver and sought to distract attention in the time-honored fashion.

    There are always decent people willing to make a stand, and with them there is hope. But history also demonstrates that things don’t always turn out for the best, be they for journalists in Russia or Pakistan.

  7. Louise M — on 2nd June, 2011 at 2:52 pm  

    A great loss indeed. He was a true brave journalist.

    The area in which he has been murdered is known for harboring Shiite militants with ties to Iran. Mandi, where his body was found, is notorious for hosting secret training camps that have the covert support of some members of the ruling PPP government, which has a strong shiite cadre.

    Saleem had recently done a story on retired Pakistani soldiers being hired by Bahrain government. Given the reports emerging from Syria, where Iranian revolutionary guards, Hezbollah, and other shiite outfits are said to be helping Bashar thugs in killing unarmed protesters, it is possible if some of the muscle power is being provided by shiite groups in Pakistan. Remember, Iran wields strong influence in Pakistan through its proxy groups. And Shahzad might be working on this. He was known for his in-depth stories and had sources in many militant groups, of all sectarian persuasions.

    ISI of course remains the main suspect but given the mess that is Pakistan; we cannot ignore other possibilities.

  8. Awakening Tempest — on 3rd June, 2011 at 1:46 pm  

    If ISI is broken or destroyed (which appears to be the case), who will it benefit?

  9. Rumbold — on 3rd June, 2011 at 2:50 pm  

    If ISI is broken or destroyed (which appears to be the case), who will it benefit?

    Pakistani civil society.

  10. Optimist — on 3rd June, 2011 at 4:12 pm  

    Boyo -

    “Without this activity (and certainly was Pakistan an American ally in anything but name) there would be little US activity and the conflict in Afghanistan would have ended long ago.”

    But according to Pakistani politician and activist Imran Khan, “since 2004, when Pakistan started military operations in its tribal areas, extremism has grown in Pakistan. The more military operations we have had, the more the militants have grown…the ‘war on terror’ has created more radicalization in Pakistani society.”

  11. joe90 — on 4th June, 2011 at 7:58 pm  

    post #6 thanks for the gcse political analysis yes it was that bad.

    Afghanistan is not a piece of cake ask the USSR and the british, you think america just going to walk into afghanistan and win? hilarious stop playing your ps3 games and come to reality.

    Second point if pakistan did not help america’s war which has cost the pak government billions and taken the lives of 40,000 people where you think the yanks would be? the yanks would have had a complete humilation in year 2 of this occupation and had a defeat worse than veitnam.

    George Friedman in the book next 100 years states “The United States also has no interest in winning the war outright..the purpose of these conflicts is simply to block a power or destabilize the region, not to impose order.”

    Zbigniew Brzezinski in strategy for eurasia states

    “The world’s most populous aspirants to regional hegemony, China and India, are in Eurasia, as are all the potential political or economic challengers to American primacy. After the United States, the next six largest economies and military spenders are there, as are all but one of the world’s overt nuclear powers, and all but one of the covert ones. Eurasia accounts for 75 percent of the world’s population, 60 percent of its GNP, and 75 percent of its energy resources. Collectively, Eurasia’s potential power overshadows even America’s. A power that dominated Eurasia would exercise decisive influence over two of the world’s three most economically productive regions, Western Europe and East Asia…almost automatically control the Middle East and Africa. What happens with the distribution of power on the Eurasian landmass will be of decisive importance to America’s global primacy and historical legacy.”

    So mr boyo you said they don’t want to be there no oil or resources not worth it we twisting their arm to stay hmmm come on don’t be that naive!

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