Saleem Shahzad: Missing journalist found dead

Published: June 1, 2011
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In this photo taken on November 28, 2006, Pakistani journalist Syed Saleem Shahzad talks on his cell phone. Syed Saleem Shahzad's body was found near his car in Sarai Alamgir, some 150 kilometres (93 miles) southeast of the Pakistani capital Islamabad, AKI said, adding that a photo of the corpse was identified by the man's brother. PHOTO: AFP

In this photo taken on November 28, 2006, Pakistani journalist Syed Saleem Shahzad talks on his cell phone. Syed Saleem Shahzad's body was found near his car in Sarai Alamgir, some 150 kilometres (93 miles) southeast of the Pakistani capital Islamabad, AKI said, adding that a photo of the corpse was identified by the man's brother. PHOTO: AFP

ISLAMABAD: 

Investigative journalist Saleem Shahzad was found dead near the Head Rasul area in Mandi Bahauddin, nearly 130 kilometres from Islamabad, after going missing from Islamabad over the weekend.

Police sources said Shahzad’s post-mortem report showed multiple injuries throughout his body. “Liver failure and ruptured lungs could have caused his death,” said an official, confirming there were as many as 15 visible wounds on his body. His ribs were also broken.

The wounds suggested Shahzad was subjected to severe torture which might have caused his death, said a police official who had seen the post-mortem report.

A relative of Shahzad, accompanied by capital police team, confirmed his identity and arrangements were being made to exhume and transport his body back to Islamabad till the filing of this report.

Earlier, his car was recovered from the Serai Alamgir in Jhelum, about six miles from where his body was found.

On Sunday night, Shahzad, Bureau Chief for the Hong Kong-basedAsia Times Online and correspondent for an Italian wire agency, had gone missing after leaving his home for a television interview. His brother-in-law, Hamza Ameer, had lodged a complaint about his disappearance with Margalla police, maintaining that Shahzad had never arrived at his intended destination.

The next day, capital police were informed by the Serai Alamgir SHO that a car containing Shahzad’s identity documents was found parked near Serai Alamgir. The Mandi Bahauddin police had conducted a post-mortem on a body fished out from a canal near Head Rasul, which ultimately turned out to be Shahzad’s, before handing it over to Edhi for temporary burial.

“From the description given by the Mandi police and the recovery of his ID card, Islamabad police were certain it was Shahzad’s body. However, the police wanted his family to confirm his identity,” said an Islamabad police official. Hamza Ameer accompanied the police team to Mandi Bahauddin where he was shown the photographs the police had taken before the burial.

Shahzad’s family officially applied for permission to exhume and claim his body, which was granted late on Tuesday night.

A few days before his death, Shahzad wrote a story for Asia Times Online, which claimed that militants attacked PNS Mehran after their demand for the release of certain suspects was rejected.

Saleem Shahzad is survived by his wife and three children.

According to AFP, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani ordered an inquiry into the kidnapping and murder, pledging that the culprits would be “brought to book”.

In 2006, he was kidnapped by the Taliban in Helmand in southern Afghanistan. Then, his kidnappers accused him of being a spy but set him free after seven days.

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan had earlier Monday expressed alarm about Shahzad’s disappearance and described as “exceedingly disturbing” reports that he might have been abducted by a state agency.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 1st, 2011.


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Reader Comments (77)

  • May 31, 2011 - 7:27PM

    SAD news! No one safe in this country :( Recommend

  • May 31, 2011 - 7:35PM

    What a Pity!

    Another addition to the already burgeoning deaths related to Journalism, in Pakistan.Recommend

  • rofl
    May 31, 2011 - 7:36PM

    Scary….Recommend

  • Omar Haroon
    May 31, 2011 - 7:36PM

    Inna lillahi Wa inna ilaihi Rajioon. May he rest in peace :(Recommend

  • Hasan
    May 31, 2011 - 7:38PM

    He was abducted from the middle of F6 sector. Agencies now need to explain how he can be abducted from right under their noses.Recommend

  • faraz
    May 31, 2011 - 7:44PM

    Just read his last report on atimes.com. Recommend

  • Nurmomad
    May 31, 2011 - 7:45PM

    This is outrageous. Condemned in the harshest terms. Complete judicial inquiry should be conducted, because there seems to be something extraordinary in his disappearance, the report getting published during his “abduction” period and the tragic death. Recommend

  • Meekal Ahmed
    May 31, 2011 - 7:46PM

    This is really frightening.

    I met him on my recent visit to Islamabad so I am profoundly shocked. Bright, well-read, articulate, truthful, and committed to his profession, this is a huge loss.

    I suppose it would be too much to ask the authorities that the story of his murder be investigated and those found guilty should be punished. Recommend

  • Black Rose
    May 31, 2011 - 7:47PM

    RIP, another brave soul left us :(Recommend

  • SYED AGHA A ALI MOOSAVI
    May 31, 2011 - 7:52PM

    sad and brutal act…….must be throughly investigated Recommend

  • ashwin
    May 31, 2011 - 7:59PM

    A Brave man!!!.Recommend

  • John
    May 31, 2011 - 8:07PM

    Even Osama bin laden was not safe in pakistan.. how can you expect a journalist to be safe??Recommend

  • G. Faulkner
    May 31, 2011 - 8:13PM

    The Truth can’t & won’t be Silenced, The Sword has been Picked already !

    There is only (1) answer to Treason ! No matter there Standing in Society or Gov’t.

    May there God have Mercy on there Souless Body & Mind.

    Rest Easy Shahzad, it won’t be in vain.Recommend

  • Maulana Diesel
    May 31, 2011 - 8:16PM

    I cannot believe this!!!!!! This guy was a fantastic investigative journalist. The only one who knew what was going on. I used to really look forward to his reports on Asia Times online. I am really sad to hear of his brutal murder. I hope the people or organization responsible for this death be brought to justice and are hanged till the last gasp of air. Recommend

  • Muhammad Ziad
    May 31, 2011 - 8:27PM

    Sadness, his journalism amongst the best. The only journalist in Pakistan traveling the disturbed lands of Pakistan and Afghanistan giving an insight of the ‘Other side’ .Recommend

  • Ahsen Khan Sadiqzai
    May 31, 2011 - 8:40PM

    Our Thoughts go to grieved family
    beasts took away father of a 14 y/o Amna Saleem
    extremely abhorrent thing to do with any Human being.

    Inna Lillah e wa Inna ilaih e rajeoun.Recommend

  • R.V.S.Sharma
    May 31, 2011 - 8:41PM

    What a shocking news ! What dark forces are reigning in Pakistan ! Notwithstanding his leanings he was a high caliber reporter. Recommend

  • May 31, 2011 - 9:23PM

    One of Pakistans best investigative journalists. May Allah bless his soul and give patience to his family in their and Pakistans time of needRecommend

  • Begum Zaib-unissah Hamza
    May 31, 2011 - 10:54PM

    The only news from Pakistan these days is death…death…and more killing. How long can a nation survive under these harsh elements? Where are the brave men that will lead us out of this darkness….I don’t see a strong heroic effort by the men of our country to protect us from this dangerous conditions that has become a way of life.
    Instead I see wonderful statements of condolences and prayers by our men while they hide behind a cloud of insecurity and cowardliness.Recommend

  • S.G. Jilanee
    May 31, 2011 - 11:07PM

    A warning to other mediawallas who dare. Recommend

  • Truthbetold
    May 31, 2011 - 11:07PM

    Pakistan’s deep state and its dirty intelligence agencies have a lot to answer for! It is high time Pakistanis demanded accountability from the arrogant military/intelligence complex that has eaten up Pakistan’s resources mercilessly and intimidated and eliminated those who question its supremacy. They have brought the country to its current pass. Civilians, even if incompetent, have more than paid a price for their mistakes with their lives and exile. Noman Bashir (of the “Mehran attack was not a security lapse” and BMW 7-series fame) refused to appear today before the Senate. Who are these people answerable to if not the elected representatives of the country?Recommend

  • May 31, 2011 - 11:30PM

    This is a brutal murder and unfortunately his killing was on the same line as done with Daniel Pearl but more unfortunate fact is that he was Pakistani where there is no sanctity of human life. Being journalist I pay my homage to him and pray to Allah Almighty to give him a place in paradise as this guy was a special one whom not only I but the whole news readers community love him.
    May All bless him. Recommend

  • Cautious
    May 31, 2011 - 11:46PM

    This was one of the good guys — lets hope that the govt spends some time and tracks down the people responsible — lets hope the govt wasn’t responsible.Recommend

  • kishipi
    Jun 1, 2011 - 12:17AM

    God save pakistanRecommend

  • saleem khan
    Jun 1, 2011 - 1:58AM

    Another victim of the deep state and just another Truth was silenced. Let’s raise more Saleem Shahzads unless times comes when to the Darkness people call Light. Let’s rise up to the task.Recommend

  • mehdi Jamal
    Jun 1, 2011 - 2:07AM

    @John:
    There is no moral equivalency of comparing Bin Laden with that of a well-respected journalist. Shame on you!Recommend

  • rahul
    Jun 1, 2011 - 2:17AM

    t is real shame that people who speak out are targeted in Pakistan Specially people who know the truth. R.I.P. MR. Syed Saleem Shahzad.Recommend

  • Johannes
    Jun 1, 2011 - 2:18AM

    What a loss. The world is a courageous man shorter and his family has suffered an even greater loss, my thoughts are with them. Syeds work provided insight were few could provide it. To his children and wife; be proud, and may you have strength to face your grief.Recommend

  • pl/sql
    Jun 1, 2011 - 4:10AM

    So much for the freedom of press! Phfft!Recommend

  • Sandy
    Jun 1, 2011 - 4:14AM

    Pakistan is a failed state. It should be renamed Jokestan.Recommend

  • Jun 1, 2011 - 5:04AM

    It is becoming too much of a routine for the state machinery to be used against its own citizens. Where are all the organized protests ? Abducted from the Capital of Pakistan it is a deplorable act , no not deplorable but an assault on the very freedom of its people. Be it ISI or the politicians , all are in the same boat. There is no ‘National Interest’ where a citizen life is taken , the nation is above the state! which Nation is the state serving ?

    I agree with ‘truthbetold’ comments above. These people are answerable to the nation. They think they can get away with anything and the people amongst this nation who sympathizes with them should also be held accountable. Just as there is a threat of taliban, there is a threat of military. Recommend

  • Truthbetold
    Jun 1, 2011 - 5:15AM

    Shahzad was a great and bold journalist who wrote many excellent and revealing articles about the “Deep Sate” May his soul rest in peace. Recommend

  • mussarat Hussain
    Jun 1, 2011 - 6:31AM

    An another friend of mine after Wali Khan Bbar of GEO news also embraced martydom.

    Saleem was an outstanding and an outspoken journalist.

    We can just pray for the departed souls.

    God Bless Pakistan, Amen.

    MussaratRecommend

  • Nasir
    Jun 1, 2011 - 8:35AM

    God Save Pakistan.Recommend

  • satyram
    Jun 1, 2011 - 8:51AM

    Very sad, this is the real Pakistan. Recommend

  • sumeet
    Jun 1, 2011 - 9:08AM

    RIP.a great loss to pakistan’s journalism.Recommend

  • DFG
    Jun 1, 2011 - 9:33AM

    Pazkistan se Zinda Bhag!Recommend

  • morality
    Jun 1, 2011 - 10:05AM

    http://www.atimes.com/atimes/South_Asia/ME27Df06.html

    read this…he was working against the national interest of Pakistan! we need to understand there is a whole game plan being executed for Pakistan and people like him could be a part of this!Recommend

  • R S JOHAR
    Jun 1, 2011 - 10:06AM

    The whole foreign media is alleging that Pak inteligence agencies had abducted the journalist two days after he wrote about the links between armed forces and al Qaeda. Human Rights has also reported that Shahzad had complained of being threatened by the same agency.

    Whatever is happening in Pakistan but some brave english dailies including ET have been in the forefront in truthful reporting and not indulging in yellow journalism. I have no hesitation to state that Pak journalists are of world class and some better than their Indian counterparts.

    Hope the Pak media will meet the challenges with determination and continue its upright reporting. Recommend

  • Irshad
    Jun 1, 2011 - 10:10AM

    Instead of commenting on this particular sad incident I would like to analyse it as under:

    Let’s admit, expressing opinion and raising voice in Pakistan is such a great crime for which you can even be tortured to death.Reason being that most of us, specially those who have some authority in the society or matter in a particular set up, are like tape recorders which only play with no listening facility. Apply this example on your office envieronment, at home or at national level and you would see that it makes sense. You are likely to be removed or end up as unheard if you will try to differ from the “Person in Authority”.

    Although it’s very difficult but each one of us should try two things. Speak truth and raise voice whenever you see any thing wrong.If we could inculcate these two things in our attitude we may be able to survive. I Recommend

  • Worried Pakistani
    Jun 1, 2011 - 10:11AM

    Saleem Shahzad’s last story for Asia Times Online revealed how al Qaeda had penetrated the Pakistan Navy. The attack on PNS Mehran took place “after talks failed between the Navy and al Qaeda over the release of naval officials arrested on suspicion of al Qaeda links.”

    In a country where terrorists, murderers, rapists and criminals roam free, deaths of innocents are all but inevitable. How many more people will have to sacrifice their lives before we finally call a spade a spade?

    Pakistan is in a deep mess right now and it is all our own doing. Let’s wake up to this reality before our soil turns completely red. Recommend

  • Feroz
    Jun 1, 2011 - 10:26AM

    Saleem Shahzad was obviously onto something very big which would have compromised the very powerful. No check post stopped or recorded the movement of his vehicle ?? Who are the orchestrators of fake patriotism when there is any major expose ? How long can the top leadership fool the people by saying we do not know what are subordinate employees were doing ? Recommend

  • Ali Hasan
    Jun 1, 2011 - 10:31AM

    Rest in peace, Shehzad. Your sacrifice and dedication are a lesson to us all. Recommend

  • perviaz memon
    Jun 1, 2011 - 10:32AM

    ” in the line of duty ” . all so called defense annalists spreading different stories this loin journalist give true story on pns mehran and pay price for truth . I think he deserve ” Nishan-n-Haider ” Recommend

  • ER
    Jun 1, 2011 - 11:33AM

    He knew of the risks, but for the greater good, gave his life. Recommend

  • Jun 1, 2011 - 11:38AM

    This is too SAD, I don’t have words to say, is there anyone giving hope on the situation of Pakistan, worth of Human life is Pakistan is no more. Welfare state of Qauid became the Test Lab of so-called, false, fake Jihadi beast. Are they still stated backed or not state sow this by their own hands so stands responsible.

    Request to the media personnels to use collective power of media and DON’T LET IT GO this time. Recommend

  • Chacha
    Jun 1, 2011 - 11:52AM

    Such events are scary. Indian’s want to punish Pakistan for Mumbai 26/11, however who is Pakistan ? Recommend

  • king
    Jun 1, 2011 - 12:04PM

    R.I.P. Shahid “Saleem Shahzad”. Pakistanis should be proud of you. We rarely see such a brave journalist. Condolences to shajzad’s family. Respect from an Indian. Recommend

  • Gen Kayani
    Jun 1, 2011 - 12:24PM

    What options did my friend Pasha have? The guy was peeling our establishment like layers of onions!. Wish could lay my hands on that Headley guy too.Recommend

  • General Kyanahi
    Jun 1, 2011 - 12:28PM

    Truly he deserves, “Nishan e Haider” & he paid the ultimate price.

    Rest in Peace, Shehzad. Inna lillahi Wa inna ilaihi Rajioon.Recommend

  • BruteForce
    Jun 1, 2011 - 12:34PM

    This is the article for which he was killed.

    http://www.atimes.com/atimes/South_Asia/ME27Df06.html

    Please everyone read this article in order to honour him.

    SInce, he was killed for writing that very article, we can even take it as the truth!

    Are there so many sleeper cells inside the Pakistan Navy? My God! It is a terrible state of affairs in Pakistan as a whole, not even the Armed Institutions are safe from radicalization!Recommend

  • kolsat
    Jun 1, 2011 - 12:34PM

    This murder once again proves that Pakistan is a disfunctional country. Who would gain by his death except who have a lot to lose by this brave journalist’s exposes of connections between various parts of Pakistani Government. The whole rotten Pakistani system should be diusmantled and a real secular democracy where men and women have equal rights should be installed in its place. Otherwise Pakistan is doomed to live a miserable wretched existance where people fear to say a word against wrong actions of those in power. Recommend

  • MADAN LAL
    Jun 1, 2011 - 12:44PM

    Proven journalism today.Recommend

  • S Khan
    Jun 1, 2011 - 12:59PM

    I am sure this is not the work of secret agencies, the way he was murdered & severe tortured is work of common criminal & thugs not the professional agencies.

    Below are thought provking paras from above news

    In 2006, he was kidnapped by the Taliban in Helmand in southern Afghanistan. Then, his kidnappers accused him of being a spy but set him free after seven days

    A few days before his death, Shahzad wrote a story for Asia Times Online, which claimed that militants attacked PNS Mehran after their demand for the release of certain suspects was rejected.

    I am sure this is the work terrorists about them he knew too muchRecommend

  • amoghavarsha.ii
    Jun 1, 2011 - 1:20PM

    It is definitely cowardly to kill a person who is telling the truth to your face.
    MKGhandi, was not killed by British how ever savage they were, because MKGhandi was saying the truth to the face of British.

    Pakistanis, please stand up, don’t give candlelight ,etc.,…file PILs, move the topmost courts, go on mass hunger strike and non cooperation movements, bring these cowards out……..

    Make your press free absolutely free….
    like gul says…”Fear is no policy, surrender is no option”. Pull up your socks and fight for freedom of press. The most critical press gives out the best to society. Recommend

  • vab
    Jun 1, 2011 - 1:23PM

    RIP. A very brave men left us.I wish people like him were working in indian media.His efforts to rise above mediocrity surrounding us is an inspiration to us all.Recommend

  • vab
    Jun 1, 2011 - 1:28PM

    RIP.A very brave person.I wish we had a few people in indian media like him.His efforts to rise above the mediocrity surrounding us is an inspiration to us all.Recommend

  • Lobster
    Jun 1, 2011 - 1:42PM

    Only if tribune stops censoring for this news article, readers will know the true “love” for ISI from the commentators.
    (I do not blame the moderators for censorship, after all they are the one to bear the consequences, and with such examples already set, they have to be careful)Recommend

  • liverpool lad
    Jun 1, 2011 - 1:46PM

    @morality:
    you must be out of your mind to condemn someone for his writings. saleem shahzad was an outstanding journalist, and one of integrity. just because he wrote the truth you think he was against pakistan’s interests? get your brains checked, and your code name too. for one thing you lack is morality. get a lifeRecommend

  • John
    Jun 1, 2011 - 1:54PM

    @mehdi jamal..
    My friend.. You misunderstood me… I have lots of respect for journalist doesn’t matter which country they belong to… My point was that your military and isi couldn’t protect Osama (a high profile target) from his enemies.. How can they protect a poor journalist who is nothing but another tax payer…Recommend

  • skm
    Jun 1, 2011 - 2:19PM

    Where is Pakistan heading to
    How do u expect the good people to live
    Will there be peace in Pakistan in the near future
    Why this antagonism and hatred for entire world emerging from this country
    Still living in fools paradise
    Where are the moderates and good leaders
    Time bomb is ticking away
    God help this country and grant wisdom for the betterment of its people Recommend

  • sumeet
    Jun 1, 2011 - 3:03PM

    @r s johar,exactly my thoughts.i am yet to read a totally unbiased and fair article on different problems of india by our so called best journalist since ages.every media house is busy with their own propoganda.
    @ET,why you edited my ISI part.Recommend

  • Saleem Sinai
    Jun 1, 2011 - 4:07PM

    @morality:
    If God forbid Pakistan implodes or worse, it would be because of the denial mentality exhibited by the likes of you who seem to think they know whats best for “national interests”. Know thatRecommend

  • sikandar
    Jun 1, 2011 - 4:28PM

    R.I.P Shehzad. U R one hell of a brave man.Recommend

  • noori
    Jun 1, 2011 - 4:28PM

    @Maulana Diesel:
    the people u think will bring justice to his death…are the people who are behind his killing…Recommend

  • Jun 1, 2011 - 4:30PM

    This was not the right way to die for such a brave person.He deserved better.His contribution to journalism will never be forgotten. May he soul live in peace.Recommend

  • mind control
    Jun 1, 2011 - 4:32PM

    @Morality

    read this…he was working against the national interest of Pakistan!

    Are you saying that the self appointed ‘guardians of national interest’ killed him?Recommend

  • qaisera
    Jun 1, 2011 - 5:14PM

    sad news Recommend

  • Afridi (Bade Dil Wala)
    Jun 1, 2011 - 7:37PM

    @John:

    You say “Even Osama bin laden was not safe in pakistan.. how can you expect a journalist to be safe??”

    Can you see the irony here – Ajmal Kasab , the lone surviving Mumbai 26/11 killer is very much safe in India; and Govt of India is spending billions of Rupees for his safety!!!!!

    Mumbai manRecommend

  • Waqar Ahmed
    Jun 1, 2011 - 8:18PM

    Syed Saleem Shahzad’s brutal murder seems like a warning to Pakistan’s journalist community that if they continue to report honestly, they can be killed. If the people of Pakistan, especially the media community, does not wake up and speak out against such brutalities, every sane voice in the country will die a silent death. This should also serve as an eye-opener for those who have been apologising for the terrorists and the Taliban alike. How many more innocents have to die before we realise that our country is a war zone where no one is safe from either our so-called saviours or the terrorists. Mr Shahzad and many others like him paid the price for reporting the truth. We must stop blaming external forces for what we are facing right now. In a country where terrorists, murderers, rapists and criminals roam free, deaths of innocents are all but inevitable. How many more people will have to sacrifice their lives before we finally call a spade a spade? Pakistan is in a deep mess right now and it is all our own doing. Let’s wake up to this reality before our soil turns completely red (if it has not already) with the blood of our citizens. RIP Saleem Shahzad; we cannot condemn or mourn your death adequately in words. Our only salvation now lies in bringing Mr Shahzad’s murderers to book.Recommend

  • Alexander Lloyd
    Jun 2, 2011 - 5:24AM

    ohh here they go again, now their gonna go in to Pakistan claiming there’s terrorist their, but if they start a war with Pakistan China will Step in which will ultimately cause WW3 Recommend

  • vasan
    Jun 2, 2011 - 5:56AM

    Afridi : There is no irony here. Ajmal Kasab is in govt custody. Obviously he is safe. But OBL was under unofficial protection by the Pak estb. And Salim Shazaad was a free man. Therefore they are not safe. That only implies that Pak state is not doing its job of providing security official or unofficial. Recommend

  • Ras Trent
    Jun 5, 2011 - 1:35AM

    When you play with fire…Recommend

  • angel
    Jun 22, 2011 - 5:51PM

    @John:
    Wat do u think?Recommend

  • angel
    Jun 22, 2011 - 5:53PM

    its gettn worse
    i mean pakistan
    -.-Recommend

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