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

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology 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.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More