News / Asia

Pakistan's Intelligence Agency Denies Role in Journalist's Murder

Relatives and colleagues carry the casket of Pakistani journalist Saleem Shahzad for burial after funeral prayers in Karachi, June 1, 2011
Relatives and colleagues carry the casket of Pakistani journalist Saleem Shahzad for burial after funeral prayers in Karachi, June 1, 2011

Multimedia

Audio
Rahman Bunairee

Saleem Shahzad, a prominent Pakistani journalist whose tortured body was discovered this week, was buried in Karachi on Wednesday.

The 40-year old father of three worked for the Hong-Kong based Asia Times Online and other  publications and had recently written an article in which he alleged links between al-Qaida and the Pakistani Navy.

Human Rights Watch researcher Ali Dayan Hasan said Shahzad had told him that he feared Pakistani intelligence agents were after him.

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

Pakistani journalists Qamar Yousafzai (L) and Saleem Shahzad (R) upon their arrival at the Pakistan-Afghan border post of Chaman, 2006.

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 "friendly."

Shahzad's killing has once again thrust Pakisan into the spotlight, reminding the world that it is  among the most dangerous places on the earth to be a journalist -- and a place where many such murders go unsolved, says Bob Dietz, Asia Program Coordinator for the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists.

Dietz spoke with Rahman Bunairee, a broadcaster with Deewa Radio, VOA's Pashto language service to Pakistan.

What are we to make of this brutal killing of Mr. Shahzad?

"This is just more of the same and, frankly, Pakistan is geting a terrible reputation for the deaths of these journalists. Last year, more journalists were killed in Pakistan than anywhere else in [2010] and the country is well on track to set that record again. Saleem Shahzad was a well-known, well-respected journalist, and for him to have been gunned down like this is unconscionable."

How much impact do you think the international community can have to press for the prosecution and punishment for those involved in the murder of journalists?

"We met with President Zardari and Interior Minister Rehman Malik earlier this month, and they promised that they were going to push forward on this, on investigations of this sort and try to get to the bottom of the killings of some of these journalists. The problem in Pakistan is that there is an incredibly high level of impunity. And that is, people who kill journalists are not brought to justice. The government does not fully pursue the cases and does not bring trials and  prosecutions.

Listen to the interview with CPJ's Bob Dietz here

We've seen that in the case of several journalists killed this year. And over the  years, since 1992, we found the case of 15 journalists who were killed, directly targeted, whose  cases were not investigated. I'm afraid we're going to have to add this case to that list unless the government acts decisively."

Pakistan is becoming increasingly becoming a hostile country for media. Can organizations like yours help create a media-friendly environment by introducing a system where the government is held directly responsible for the protection of journalists?

"Frankly, we're not sure of the political will within the government of President  Zardari to confront this problem. This is not a new problem in Pakistan. Under [the former government of] Mr. Musharraf, the government was in denial, and they said, 'No we don't have a problem.' Under President Zardari, they're saying 'yes, we admit that we have a problem.' But we haven't see any positive steps  towards solving it."

You May Like

Disappointing Report on China's Economy Shakes Markets

In London and New York shares lost 3 percent, while Paris and Germany dropped around 2.4 percent More

DRC Tries Mega-Farms to Feed Population

Park at Boukanga Lonzo currently has 5,000 hectares under cultivation, crops stretching as far as eye can see, and is start of ambitious large-scale agriculture plan More

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Areas are spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, source of livelihood for fishermen and herders who have called the marshes home for generations 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.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs