Syed Saleem Shazad
May 31, 2011 5:59 PM   Subscribe

The Most Dangerous Place In The World On May 29, fearless Pakistani journalist and author Syed Saleem Shazad disappeared on the way to a TV interview concerning his story about al Qaeda infiltration into the Pakistani military. On May 30, his badly beaten body was found in a canal 150 km from his home in Islamabad. Shazad, Pakistan Bureau Chief for Asia Times Online, had written many provocative stories that brought him threats from Pakistan's ISI. Shazad's murder shows again why Pakistan is the most dangerous place in the world for journalists.
posted by rdone (29 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

Depressing news; I made a post here a few years ago of a series of articles he did about the various factions in the Taliban.
posted by Abiezer at 6:21 PM on May 31, 2011

That sounds bad, but can they dance at monuments?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 6:48 PM on May 31, 2011 [1 favorite]

posted by Renoroc at 6:59 PM on May 31, 2011

Poor man. Journalists get a bad rap because of some of the bottom-feeders of the profession, but there are many brave, intelligent, hard-working and committed people putting their lives and their safety on the line to uncover the truth and tell us about it. And sometimes they do in fact pay with their lives.
posted by orange swan at 7:12 PM on May 31, 2011 [5 favorites]

"That sounds bad, but can they dance at monuments?"

posted by Blasdelb at 7:31 PM on May 31, 2011 [1 favorite]

Another article. Having read Shazad's work in the ATO for years, I came to view him as a man who was never afraid to tell the inconvenient truth. His taste for the truth cost him everything. I cannot believe that he is dead; it is as if I have lost a personal firiend.
posted by rdone at 7:41 PM on May 31, 2011

Those bastards.
posted by KokuRyu at 7:46 PM on May 31, 2011

This makes me sad. I can't imagine the courage he had, with a family to support, to keep on shining the light onto the dark places. I know I'll never be so brave.

What a loss, what a loss.
posted by storybored at 7:49 PM on May 31, 2011 [2 favorites]

Reporters without borders. Precarious future for us all if the eyes of the world are blinded and ears are deafened.
posted by specialk420 at 9:24 PM on May 31, 2011

"It was clear the militants were receiving good inside information as they always knew where the suspects were being detained, indicating sizeable al-Qaeda infiltration within the navy's ranks."

posted by vidur at 10:45 PM on May 31, 2011

posted by Vibrissae at 12:32 AM on June 1, 2011

In his recently (May 10th) published bok (auther link) he indicated ISI's connivance in the Mumbai bombings through their patronage of LeT.

posted by adamvasco at 12:48 AM on June 1, 2011


posted by bardophile at 1:53 AM on June 1, 2011

The division in Pakistan right now is really incredibly depressing. Reactions are so diverse. A friend's husband, who works as a diplomat, received a congratulatory text message, to the effect that 'the traitor has been rightfully murdered.' I'm still struggling to get my idea around the idea of anyone being 'rightfully murdered.'

On the other hand, you have otherwise level-headed people who are so angry with the government and the army right now, that they are calling for blood, literally. I haven't heard this much talk of revolution, ever. And I do remember the Zia era.

Then you have the large numbers of people who are so heartsick that they just want to leave, are making plans to leave, or have left already.

Then you have the nuts who ARE away, and looking for some way, any way, to get back, to try to make things just a little bit better.

And these are just among the people I know, so the middle and upper-middle class, educated Pakistani.

It's hard to tell from afar what even the urban lower class thinks, let alone the masses in the rural areas.
posted by bardophile at 2:06 AM on June 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


(no, the ISI and the Army had no idea where Bin Laden was, honest!)
posted by Meatbomb at 2:17 AM on June 1, 2011

(no, the ISI and the Army had no idea where Bin Laden was, honest!)

To be fair, I think it's probably not at the institutional level that the army and ISI knew. It's much more likely that there is a parallel network running within both institutions. How big, how deep, how high, that scares me to even speculate about.
posted by bardophile at 2:22 AM on June 1, 2011

I'm with you absolutely, bardophile. But it is setup that way by design, to allow for plausible deniability. One of the links in this thread mentioned specifically (section 9? or some such) where they make all the icky terrorist sausage and don't tell the outsiders all the details.

The whole apparatus needs to be torn down and rebuilt on first principles.
posted by Meatbomb at 3:19 AM on June 1, 2011

There's a protest being organized at the Lahore Press Club today, but a lot of people are afraid to go.
posted by bardophile at 3:19 AM on June 1, 2011

Meatbomb, I agree in principle. Very hard to do in practice. Especially with all the vested interests of the people who would be in charge of such a dismantling and rebuilding. How do you begin to dismantle the deep state?
posted by bardophile at 4:04 AM on June 1, 2011

Not going to happen
State Minister for External Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar has said that relations between the two spy agencies of Pakistan and US have returned to normal.
Earlier last month Declan Walsh asked: Whose side is Pakistan's ISI really on?
Eurasia Review : US-Pak Counter-Terrorism Cooperation: The Ritual And The Reality – Analysis
bardophile are you in or out of Pakistan at the moment?. Whatever, stay safe and your family too.
posted by adamvasco at 4:37 AM on June 1, 2011

See also Inside Pakistan's spy network - Anatol Lieven
The ISI's growth from a British-model intelligence organisation to a "state within a state" was the result of three processes, The first was the conflict with India, The second was fear of internal revolt in Pakistan, The third factor was the anti-Soviet war in Afghanistan.
BCCI was the financial vehicle for the ISI and the rabbit hole goes deeper.
posted by adamvasco at 4:58 AM on June 1, 2011

Before we throw stones at the internal divisions within their security forces, we should look through our own glass walls

Hey, I have two glass houses! /false excitement
posted by bardophile at 6:39 AM on June 1, 2011

Please forgive the extension of my response.

List of Heroes.
posted by dragonsi55 at 6:40 AM on June 1, 2011

...incidentally, we talk a lot on metafilter about the shortcomings of the American military/government/etc. This is a thread about a Pakistani journalist being killed, possibly/probably because of his criticism of the Pakistani military.
posted by bardophile at 6:47 AM on June 1, 2011 [1 favorite]

From dragonsi55's list:

36 journalists killed in Pakistan since 1992. (may not have been updated to include Shazad's murder) But the sad and terrible thing is that 34 of these killings were done with complete impunity.

Compare 5 journalists killed in the same period in the US. None with complete impunity.
posted by storybored at 8:21 AM on June 1, 2011

Hameed Haroon, head of the All Pakistan Newspapers Association responds to the ISI's claim that reports of Shahzad being threatened by the ISI were baseless.
posted by bardophile at 2:58 AM on June 2, 2011

Another voice for freedom lost.
posted by bardophile at 5:37 AM on June 2, 2011

The courageous many.

posted by bardophile at 5:41 AM on June 2, 2011

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