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Murdered Pakistani Journalist Had Claimed ISI Threat

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  • #31
    Originally posted by Tronic View Post
    The post mortem report stated that there were 15 torture marks on his body but no bullet wounds.

    Recalling his encounter with Pakistan's ISI intelligence agency, Cheema says that when he was stripped naked, hung upside down and beaten severely for a solid six hours, "the only thought that came to my mind was I’ve done nothing wrong except write the truth. And I was paying the price for that," he told IPS over the phone from Islamabad.

    But the journalist community also believes that in Shahzad’s case the intention may not have been to kill him since he was very well connected to the agencies as well as the militants. "About a year back, he had been shot in the chest and the wound had probably not healed completely, so when he was hit on the same spot, it proved fatal," Cheema surmised.

    It also makes sense to Adnan Rehmat, who heads Intermedia, an organisation that works to build the capacity of Pakistani reporters. "Most journalists who have been murdered previously have been shot at and killed, not picked up, tortured and then killed." Rehmat said the killing is indicative of a mindset that prevails within the "deep state" that when push comes to shove they can use the "strongest censorship".
    This seems more plausible. ISI isn't that stupid to kill him. They know they would be first on the suspects list. The torture plan might have gone wrong.
    Last edited by hammer; 04 Jun 11,, 13:10.
    Diplomacy is the art of saying 'Nice doggie!'...till you can find a rock. ;)


    • #32
      I have been regularly following Mr Shahzad's reports for Asia Times Online since around 2006 / 2007 and have learned much from them that i am sure i could not have learned from any other media source. I owe here a word of gratitude to Mr Shahzad's journalism and to pay tribute to the incalculable contribution he made to disseminating knowledge about the post-9/11 World of FATA, militant networks and the 'War on Terror' as it relates to Pakistan's role in it.

      I was saddened to learn of his murder earlier in the week and will miss his reports for ATol which i have appreciated for a long time. I join the many out there in paying tribute to his work and in offering my regrets and condolences to his family, friends and colleagues. His killing is a big loss and an unforgivable attack on journalism the World over.


      • #33
        1980s Reply

        Nicely-written and well said.
        "This aggression will not stand, man!" Jeff Lebowski
        "The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what you share with someone else when you're uncool." Lester Bangs


        • #34

          I would say his hunch about ISI knocking him should be the top suspect till proved otherwise.
          There are 10 kinds of people in the world, those who understand binary and those who don’t..


          • #35
            Saleem Shahzad’s cell phone record erased

            I wonder how the Pakistani's supporting the Agencies are going to spin this one.. Please find the developing story below at the Tribune

            Saleem Shahzad


            • #36
              Dying To Tell The Story

              The NYT Op-Ed page has issued this piece written by Umar Cheema of the NEWS INTERNATIONAL on Syed Saleem Shahzad's murder-

              "WE have buried another journalist. Syed Saleem Shahzad, an investigative reporter for Asia Times Online, has paid the ultimate price for telling truths that the authorities didn’t want people to hear. He disappeared a few days after writing an article alleging that Al Qaeda elements had penetrated Pakistan’s navy and that a military crackdown on them had precipitated the May 22 terrorist attack on a Karachi naval base. His death has left Pakistani journalists shaken and filled with despair.

              I couldn’t sleep the night that Saleem’s death was confirmed. The fact that he was tortured sent me back to a chilly night last September, when I was abducted by government agents. During Saleem’s funeral service, a thought kept haunting me: “It could have been me.”

              Mourning journalists lined up after the service to console me, saying I was lucky to get a lease on life that Saleem was denied. But luck is a relative term.

              Adil, my 2-year-old son, was the first person in my thoughts after I was abducted. Journalists in Pakistan don’t have any institutionalized social security system; those killed in the line of duty leave their families at the mercy of a weak economy.

              When my attackers came, impersonating policemen arresting me on a fabricated charge of murder, I felt helpless. My mouth muzzled and hands cuffed, I couldn’t inform anybody of my whereabouts, not even the friends I’d dropped off just 15 minutes before. My cellphone was taken away and switched off. Despite the many threats I’d received, I never expected this to happen to me.

              Sure, I had written many stories exposing the corrupt practices of high-ranking officials and pieces criticizing the army and the intelligence agencies. After they were published, Inter-Services Intelligence, Pakistan’s prime security agency, always contacted me. I was first advised not to write too much about them and later sent messages laced with subtle threats. But I never imagined action was imminent.

              On Sept. 4, I was driven to an abandoned house instead of a police station, where I was stripped naked and tortured with a whip and a wooden rod. While a man flogged me, I asked what crime had brought me this punishment. Another man told me: “Your reporting has upset the government.” It was not a crime, and therefore I did not apologize.

              Instead, I kept praying, “Oh God, why am I being punished?” The answer came from the ringleader: “If you can’t avoid rape, enjoy it.” He would employ abusive language whenever he addressed me.

              “Have you ever been tortured before?” he asked.

              “No,” I said.

              “These marks will stay with you forever, offering you a reminder never to defy the authorities,” he replied.

              They tortured me for 25 minutes, shaved my head, eyebrows and moustache and then filmed and photographed my naked body. I was dumped nearly 100 miles outside Islamabad with a warning not to speak up or face the consequences.

              The following months were dreadful. I suffered from a sleep disorder. I would wake up fearing that someone was beating my back. I wouldn’t go jogging, afraid that somebody would pick me up again and I’d never return. Self-imposed house arrest is the life I live today; I don’t go outside unless I have serious business. I have been chased a number of times after the incident. Now my son asks me questions about my attackers that I don’t answer. I don’t want to sow the seeds of hatred in his heart.

              When Saleem disappeared, I wondered if he had been thinking about his children, as I had. He had left Karachi, his hometown, after receiving death threats, and settled with his wife and three children in Islamabad. From there, he often went on reporting trips to the tribal areas along the Afghan border. Tahir Ali, a mutual friend, would ask him: “Don’t you feel scared in the tribal areas?” Saleem would smile and say: “Death could come even in Islamabad.” His words were chilling, and prescient.

              The killing of Syed Saleem Shahzad is yet another terrifying reminder to Pakistani journalists. He is the fifth to die in the first five months of 2011. Journalists are shot like stray dogs in Pakistan — easily killed because their assassins sit at the pinnacle of power.

              When Daniel Pearl was brutally murdered by militants in Karachi in 2002, his case was prosecuted and four accomplices to the crime were sentenced. This happened only because Mr. Pearl was an American journalist. Had he been a Pakistani, there would have been no justice.

              Today, impunity reigns and no organization is powerful enough to pressure the government to bring Saleem’s killers to justice. Journalists have shown resilience, but it is hard to persevere when the state itself becomes complicit in the crime. Now those speaking up for Saleem are doing so at a price: they are being intimidated and harassed.

              Pakistan is at a crossroads and so is its news media. In a situation of doom and gloom, Pakistani journalists offer a ray of hope to their fellow citizens and they have earned the people’s trust. Even the former prime minister Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain has admitted that people who once went to the police with complaints now go to the press.

              But this trust will be eroded if journalists continue to be bullied into walking away from the truth. News organizations throughout the world must join hands in seeking justice for Saleem and ending the intelligence agencies’ culture of impunity. An award for investigative journalists should be created in his honor, as was done for Daniel Pearl. No stronger message could be delivered to his killers than making him immortal."

              Umar Cheema is an investigative reporter at The News International, Pakistan’s largest English-language daily. He was a Daniel Pearl Fellow at The Times in 2008.

              I can't imagine Mr. Cheema performs his job with the same effectiveness he once mustered prior to his September kidnapping. I wonder if he's now a marked man with an unmarked grave awaiting him? I hope not lest he die telling his story.
              "This aggression will not stand, man!" Jeff Lebowski
              "The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what you share with someone else when you're uncool." Lester Bangs


              • #37
                Very touching.

                It would appear the only way to survive as a journalist in Pakistan is to be incompetent. Fabricate stories along with rampant speculation. In effect do the regimes bidding on the psyche front. Because only in such an environment can stunts go unpunished and the people remain ignorant and undemanding of their govt.

                Does Imran Khan have anything say about this i wonder ?


                • #38
                  Originally posted by Double Edge View Post
                  Very touching.

                  It would appear the only way to survive as a journalist in Pakistan is to be incompetent. Fabricate stories along with rampant speculation. In effect do the regimes bidding on the psyche front. Because only in such an environment can stunts go unpunished and the people remain ignorant and undemanding of their govt.

                  Does Imran Khan have anything say about this i wonder ?
                  Yet, despite what you think is necessary for a journalist to do to 'survive in Pakistan', the media is full of criticism of the current Government and the military, and has been since the days of Musharraf.

                  The criticism of the government is so widespread and strong, that the GoP has taken to trying to financially pressure the largest media network in Pakistan, Geo TV. And the criticism of the military has been so strong and widespread, that the recent Corps Commanders Meeting took the unusual step of issuing a statement addressing it.

                  Yes, journalism in Pakistan is a dangerous business, but the widespread anti-government and anti-military content in the media, Urdu and English, would appear to indicate that so far journalists have not been silenced.
                  Pakistan is not going to be a theocratic state to be ruled by priests with a divine mission - Jinnah


                  • #39
                    Pakistan’s Spies Tied to Slaying of a Journalist

                    ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Obama administration officials believe that Pakistan’s powerful spy agency ordered the killing of a Pakistani journalist who had written scathing reports about the infiltration of militants in the country’s military, according to American officials.

                    New classified intelligence obtained before the May 29 disappearance of the journalist, Saleem Shahzad, 40, from the capital, Islamabad, and after the discovery of his mortally wounded body, showed that senior officials of the spy agency, the Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence, directed the attack on him in an effort to silence criticism, two senior administration officials said.

                    The intelligence, which several administration officials said they believed was reliable and conclusive, showed that the actions of the ISI, as it is known, were “barbaric and unacceptable,” one of the officials said. They would not disclose further details about the intelligence.

                    Pakistan’s Spies Tied to Slaying of a Journalist


                    • #40
                      Journalists in Pakistan Under Threat from ISI - TIME


                      • #41
                        New Yorker has an update on this murder

                        Letter From Islamabad
                        The Journalist and the Spies
                        The murder of a reporter who exposed Pakistan’s secrets.
                        by Dexter Filkins
                        September 19, 2011

                        Shahzad’s journalism may not have been the sole reason that he was targeted. I.S.I. officials may have become convinced that Shahzad was working for a foreign intelligence agency. This could have elevated him in the eyes of the military from a troublesome reporter who deserved a beating to a foreign agent who needed to be killed.

                        In fact, Shahzad, at the time of his death, was in contact with several foreign intelligence officials. He told me that a Saudi intelligence official was among those who had told him that bin Laden had met with Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, the mujahideen now considered a terrorist. Shahzad himself, under questioning from the I.S.I., had admitted that another source for that story was General Bismillah Khan—then the Interior Minister of Afghanistan, and a loathed figure in the Pakistani military.

                        More crucially, it appears that, in the months before Shahzad was killed, some foreign intelligence agencies tried to recruit him. Roger van Zwanenberg, the publisher of Pluto Press, the London imprint that released Shahzad’s book, told me that members of British intelligence had asked Shahzad for help during a short visit that he made to London in March. The intelligence officers wanted Shahzad to help them get in touch with Taliban leaders. “Saleem declined,” van Zwanenberg said. He added that, when Shahzad attended a conference in New Delhi this spring, officers from an Indian intelligence agency offered to put him on a retainer. Several of Shahzad’s colleagues confirmed this.

                        There is no evidence that Shahzad was working for any foreign intelligence agency, but mere suspicion on this front could have imperilled him. “What is the final thing that earns Shahzad a red card—the final thing that tips him over from being a nuisance to an enemy?” a Western researcher in Islamabad said to me. “If someone concluded that he was a foreign agent, and that the stories he was putting out were part of a deliberate effort to defame the I.S.I. and undermine the I.S.I.’s carefully crafted information strategy—if anyone in the I.S.I. concluded that, then Saleem would be in grave danger.”
                        Last edited by Double Edge; 13 Sep 11,, 20:44.


                        • #42
                          Double Edge Reply

                          Nice find.:)

                          Filkens is good and the writing is excellent.
                          "This aggression will not stand, man!" Jeff Lebowski
                          "The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what you share with someone else when you're uncool." Lester Bangs


                          • #43
                            Beyond any shadow of doubt, Mr Saleem Sehzad, was assassinated by Intelligence Agencies of Pakistan. Just a day before his kidnapping, he shared his fears with Human Rights Organization and his close friends. Pakistan has been very unsafe place for journalists. And few journalists from Wazirastan were also shot dead when they did reporting which was distasteful to intelligence agencies, serving it as a warning to other journalists to suppress their voices.
                            Peace, Peace, Peace