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Sunday Dec 4, 2022, Jumada-al-awwal 10, 1444 Hijri

Connections behind Saleem Sahazad Murder Proved

10 July, 2011

By Zaheerul Hassan

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An otherwise infamous Pakistani Journalist Saleem Shahzad, but popular in American and Indian intelligence circles has been disappeared on May 29 and found killed brutally in the first week of June 2011. Pakistan`s President Zardari and Prime minister, Yousaf Raza Gilani, expressed his "deep grief and sorrow" over Shahzad`s death and ordered an inquiry, saying that "the culprits would be brought to book at every cost". But on the other hand, some of sponsored media anchors and so called human rights activists without going into details plainly alleged ISI for the murder of Saleem Shahzad.

Later on their American masters have too jumped into the case and started blaming ISI for the killing of journalists. For example firstly in the last week New York Times (NYT) crafted a story while quoting unnamed officials of the Obama administration as citing new classified intelligence that senior ISI figures had directed the attack. But on July 7,2001, during a Pentagon briefing, the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen stated that the Pakistani govt had “sanctioned” Mr Shahzad`s killing.

“I have not seen anything to disabuse the report that the government knew about it,” he told reporters. Anyhow, he added that he did not have a “string of evidence” linking the death to the ISI. American stances put a big question mark, that`s why they suddenly become so interested and conscious over a third rate Pakistani Journalist when in this context a govt has already ordered a Judicial commission to probe, the case and perpetrated on the slain. Moreover why they the killing of journalist have been declared a state-sponsored act. American officials, General Mullen statements and U.S. media’s anti Pakistan campaign are quite controversial and objectionable too and it amount to interfering in state matters.

The issue of his killing became further controversial when an e-mail written to Ali Dayan Hasan, the head of Human Rights Watch in Pakistan appeared in the media in which Mr. Shahzad gave the details of his Oct. 17, 2010 meeting at ISI headquarters, where two senior officials of the press section discussed an article written by him about the release of an interrogated Afghan Taliban commander, Abdul Ghani Baradar. Mr. Saleem quoted that head of the ISI press section, Rear Admiral Adnan Nazir. “We have recently arrested a terrorist and recovered a lot of data, diaries and other material during the interrogation,” Mr. Shahzad also quoted Admiral Nazir saying. “The terrorist had a list with him. If I find your name in the list, I will certainly let you know.” This was all about his meeting with ISI officials. The e-mail shows that its contents are very simple and straight forward talk carried out between ISI officials and Saleem Shazad and don’t support the self generated threat which was perceived by the slain journalists. It is worth mentioning here that Saleem Shahzad himself confirmed that Admiral told him that he would be informed in case his name would be found in the list. Therefore the purpose of informing could be to save him from the terrorists groups.

However, the question arises that why the journalist initiated the e-mail encompassing post meeting report with ISI officials when such type of practice either is not in vogue or nor been practiced in the past by any other journalist.

Interestingly, though the killed journalist initiated e-mail himself to the head of press section of ISI but in that he never acknowledged that ISI has threatened or harassed him. He only highlighted the points discussed in the meeting. He also admitted that meeting with ISI officials was held under a cordial environment. ISI sources also confirmed that meeting with the journalist has been held in a very pleasant environment and no such threat has been given to Shazad. It is on record that the journalist has some contacts with Taliban groups and the foreign missions too. Moreover, meetings of ISI officials with journalists, think tanks and scholars are very much part of routine official commitments and moreover exchange of information from horses’ mouths of course help the opinion makers in understanding the issues and hidden motives of our adversaries. It is further added here that similar nature of briefings, coordination and meetings are also being conducted and arranged for local and foreign think tanks and journalists in Pentagon, CIA, MI-6 and RAW headquarters.

Therefore, transforming of e-mail contents into threat to the journalist is not justified and seems to a part of hidden foreign agenda of defaming security forces and ISI. It is an open secret now that Pakistan and U.S. apparently do claim front line allies but are now getting away from each other due to various U.S. covert agenda like interference in Balochistan and her increasing interest towards India. The trust deficit between two countries further heightened when U.S carried out unilateral action in Abbottabad and as result intelligence agencies (CIA & ISI) were became at loggers head. ISI refused to cooperate further with CIA. ISI and Pakistan security forces and ISI went under terrible criticism after OBL killing, and raid on PN Base incident. Thus, now CIA got chance to speed up the propaganda against ISI and Pakistan security forces while using the specific section of media. Thus, to fuel the anti ISI campaign further probably kidnapped the journalist and later on killed him with the purpose of implicating local agencies in the murder.

But still many queries persist that who, why and under what circumstances Saleem Shahzad has been eliminated. The answers to these queries will definitely help in bringing true faces in front of the society which are playing in foreign hands against the national interest. In this connection, I would suggest to investigating agencies and commission to find out; (one) the dig out the personality who instigated Saleem Shahzad to prepare post meeting report and e-mailed to ISI official, (two) what are true motives behind initiating an e-mail to ISI official,(three) why should ISI has waited for his killing almost for seven months after the meeting,(four) why ISI should go for abduction and killing of a third rate and unpopular target once many hardliners media anchors keep on demoralizing nation, troops, criticizing ISI and security agencies on the instructions of their foreign masters, (five) why should ISI go for killing of Saleem in nonprofessional way at that time frame when the agency and security forces were already under horrible criticism and turmoil after OBL killing and raid on Mehran Navel Base, (six) whose agenda is to create instability in Pakistan by any means,(seven) is it not true that CIA, RAW & Mossad got the most suitable chance and timings for defaming her rival agency ISI, (eight) what are those interests, agenda and circumstances which forced Obama administration, CIA and Admiral Mike Mullen to come out and malign Pakistani government and ISI in the murder of the journalist and last but not the least has it not proved that Mullen, Americans’ media and CIA have tried to create rift between government and ISI while giving statements and writing fake stories once the government has already constitute the judicial commission to find out the facts. Moreover, their too much interest in Pakistani case shows that they have some covert connections in the killing of their own agent.

Any how the govt, ISI and military establishment has very categorically and clearly denied their involvement in the murder and determined to find out the facts. Alleging ISI, army and Pakistan is another try of destabilizing Pakistan through foreign media and local traitors. In this regard on July 9, 2011 responding to a question during an interview with a foreign news agency about a series of unsubstantiated news reports published in New York Times(NYT), DG ISPR and Military spokesman Major Genral Athar Abbas rejected the allegations leveled against the army and ISI and described them as baseless and mischievous. He further stated that in recent weeks the NYT has continue to publish wild claims presented as news stories on the basis of information supposedly provided by unnamed US Officials. He said in most of the cases such reports have quoted anonymous sources, bringing the veracity of their reporting into questions. Recalling NYT’ apology of March 2004 about Iraq War Gen Abbas stated at that time the newspaper had this to say:’ in some cases information that was controversial then, and seems questionable now, was insufficiently qualified or allowed to stand unchallenged.

Looking back we, wish we had been more aggressive in reexamining the claims as new evidence emerged or failed to emerge’. The military spokesman further said, “if the paper continues with its vilifying campaign without any concrete evidence, I am afraid at some point it may end up expressing its deep regret the way it did in the case of its Iraq coverage. Similar on July 8, 2011, Pakistan denounced as “extremely irresponsible and unfortunate” comments by the top-ranking US military officer that elements of the Pakistan government had sanctioned the killing of a journalist in May, warning that it could hurt cooperation in the fight against militants. Pakistan government has taken a series view of the remarks of Adm. Mike Mullen on the murder of journalist. In this connection, Information Minister Firdous Ashiq Awan told a news conference that Mullen statement will create problems and difficulties for the bilateral relations between Pakistan and America and will definitely deal a blow to our common efforts with regard to the war on terror.

In my opinion the abduction of murder of Saleem has been carried out by CIA while using some local traitors. CIA does monitor all internet traffic and servers of search engines through its sophisticated equipment. Therefore, foreign agency first ensured his delivery of e-mail to ISI, waited for timing of defaming ISI, abducted and eliminated him in June, 2011.

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