News / Asia

Pakistani Journalist's Death Raises Questions Over Press Freedoms

Pakistani journalists protest against a killing of a Pakistani journalist Saleem Shahzad,  in Hyderabad, Pakistan, June 1, 2011.
Pakistani journalists protest against a killing of a Pakistani journalist Saleem Shahzad, in Hyderabad, Pakistan, June 1, 2011.

A Pakistani reporter who investigated terrorism and was found slain after telling a rights activist he'd been threatened by intelligence agents was buried Wednesday.

Many in Pakistan believe the killing was the act of the country's intelligence organization, the ISI. Fellow journalists vowed his killing would not silence them.

Syed Saleem Shahzad was buried in Pakistan's southern port city of Karachi on Wednesday, as relatives, journalists and local politicians looked on.

"We will not allow this to happen, we will not let them shut our voices down, said Azhar Abbas, a friend of Shahzad and a fellow journalist. "So the journalist community is united on it, we will not stop, our protest will continue on things like that. We may lose more lives because this place has become a very dangerous place for journalists. But our fight will continue, they cannot silent us," Abbas said.

Pakistan was the deadliest country for journalists in 2010, with at least eight killed in the line of duty, according to the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists. Six died in suicide attacks, the group said in a report late last year.

CPJ's Asia program Coordinator, Bob Dietz said he showed Pakistani President Asaf Ali Zardari a long list of killed journalists just a month ago. But little was done in response.

"We had a list of fifteen murders, targeted killings of journalists, since the death of Danny Pearl in 2002, that we presented to President Zardari. None of those killings has been investigated," said Dietz. "Not one of them has ever made it beyond a cursory investigation by police. There is an incredible amount of impunity for anyone who would kill a journalist in Pakistan," he said.

Since the May 2 U.S. raid that killed al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden in a garrison city in Pakistan's northwest, the media has reported critical stories about the country's security establishment.

Before he was abducted and killed, Shazad Saleem said he had been repeatedly approached and threatened by the Pakistani intelligence organization over his work, which revealed infiltration by extremists into the ISI and other military institutions.

The threats became so severe in fact that he contacted Human Rights Watch's representative in Pakistan to provide details should anything happen to him or his family.

Reading an account left by Saleem, Human Rights Watch's Ali Dayan Hasan said there was a thinly veiled threat against his life.

"At the end of the conversation with the ISI official who was speaking to him said, 'I must do you a favor. 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.' Now, the manner in which the statement was delivered implied that this was in fact a threat from them. That he could be murdered and some militant group could be blamed for it," Hasan said.

On Wednesday, an unnamed official with Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence agency said allegations that the spy agency had threatened Shahzad or was somehow involved in his murder were "baseless" and "unfounded."

The ISI official told the Associated Press of Pakistan that the journalist met with ISI officials in October of last year to discuss a story Shahzad had written and that the meeting was "polite" and "friendly."  The intelligence official added that Shahzad's death should not be used to target and malign the country's security agency.

Because it is often a journalists job to reveal hard truths that certain elements would like kept secret means they are a repeated target for a number of groups,
said Zora Yousef, the Head of Pakistan's Human Rights Commission.

"In Pakistan, they are the targets, not just of the intelligence agencies but also of non-state actors, whether it's these extremists groups or political groups, they all tend to threaten journalists," Yousef said.

Pakistani Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani has expressed regret over Shahzad's death and ordered an immediate investigation.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also strongly condemned Shahzad's killing and welcomed Pakistan's probe.  She said the journalist's reporting on terrorism and intelligence issues exposed the troubles extremism poses to Pakistan's stability.

You May Like

Photogallery Americans Celebrate Thanksgiving With Feasts, Festivities

Holiday traditions include turkey dinners, 'turkey trots,' American-style football and New York parade with giant balloons More

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

With two years left in term, analysts say, president has less to lose by taking conversation on race further More

Video Italian Espresso Expands Into Space

When Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti headed for the ISS, her countrymen worried how she would survive six months drinking only instant coffee More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
South Africa Sees Male Circumcision as Way to Reduce HIV Infectionsi
X
November 28, 2014 3:31 PM
South Africa remains plagued by AIDS despite massive government and NGO efforts on prevention and life-sustaining Anti-Retro-Viral programs. But the country has opened up another front to reduce new HIV infections: promoting circumcision. Emilie Iob reports for VOA News from a pioneering circumcision center in Orange Farm, Johannesburg.
Video

Video South Africa Sees Male Circumcision as Way to Reduce HIV Infections

South Africa remains plagued by AIDS despite massive government and NGO efforts on prevention and life-sustaining Anti-Retro-Viral programs. But the country has opened up another front to reduce new HIV infections: promoting circumcision. Emilie Iob reports for VOA News from a pioneering circumcision center in Orange Farm, Johannesburg.
Video

Video To Make A Living, Nairobi Street Vendors Face Legal Hurdles, Physical Violence

The Nairobi City Council has been accused of brutality in dealing with hawkers in the Central Business District - in order to stop them from illegally selling their wares on the streets. Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

Throughout the crisis in Ferguson, Missouri, President Barack Obama has urged calm, restraint and respect for the rule of law. But the events in Ferguson have prompted him to call — more openly than he has before — for profound changes to end the racism and distrust that he believes still exists between whites and blacks in the United States. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Online Magazine Gets Kids Discussing Big Questions

Teen culture in America is often criticized for being superficial. But an online magazine has been encouraging some teenagers to explore deeper issues, and rewarding their efforts. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky went to this year’s Kidspirit awards ceremony in New York.
Video

Video US Community Kicks Off Thanksgiving With Parade

Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States, a holiday whose roots go back to the country's earliest days as a British colony. One way Americans celebrate the occasion is with parades. Anush Avetisyan takes us to one such event on the day before Thanksgiving near Washington, where a community's diversity is on display. Joy Wagner narrates
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.

All About America

AppleAndroid