Afghan Journal

Lifting the veil on conflict, culture and politics

Pakistan’s journalists won’t be silenced


The killing of an Islamabad-based Pakistani journalist  ,who went missing a few days ago, has triggered an outpouring of grief and anger.   Pakistani journalists and activists are demanding answers for the murder of Saleem Shahzad, who Human Rights Watch said, told them before he was abducted that he was under threat from the Inter-Services Intelligence, the powerful spy agency.

Shahzad, a reporter for the Asia Times and the Italian news agency Adnkronos International, wrote on security/intelligence issues,  often delving deep into the dangerous world of Islamist militancy . The last story he wrote for the Asia Times  two days before  he was abducted, suggested that a militant attack on the navy’s main base in Karachi on May 22 was carried out because the navy was trying to crack down on cells from Al Qaeda that had infiltrated the force. 

The 16-hour raid on the Mehran base in which the militants destroyed two U.S. supplied surveillance aircraft deep inside the base and killed 10 military personnel has embarrassed the military, coming days after the U.S. operation to take out Osama bin Laden in a garrison town not far from the nation’s capital, without the apparent knowledge of the miitary. The naval raid also raised questions of complicity of base  personnel in helping the militants mount the attack, putting the military further in a spot.

Pakistan’s journalists have been unwavering in their questioning and often withering criticism of the military, more so after the bin Laden raid than at any other time in the recent past. On Tuesday as news of Shahzad’s murder filtered through, sending a chill through anyone connected with the profession , the journalists on the frontlines showed little signs of intimidation. Here’s an editorial from The Daily Times that minces few words :