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
TEXT SIZE - +
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

Multimedia Relatives of South Korean Ferry Victims Fire at Authorities

46 people are confirmed dead, but some 250 remain trapped inside sunken ferry More

War Legacy Haunts Vietnam, US Relations

$84 million project aims to clean up soil contaminated by Agent Orange More

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends 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.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid