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Journalist's murder highlights risks of reporting in Pakistan


Rome, Dec 4 (IANS/AKI) In countries such as Pakistan, courageous investigative journalists risk their lives for their profession as the case of slain Pakistani shows, said the of an Italian daily.

"Syed Saleem Shahzad, who was the Bureau for Asia Times Online, was able to work as an honest for a long time in one of the world's most hostile environments for this profession," Maurizio Molinari, of Italian daily La Stampa, told news agency.

"The of a thousand coups, the all-powerful ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence) services, the bloody clashes between Muslim sects, the and Al Qaeda is one of the most dangerous place on earth," he said.

vanished in on May 29, 2011 on his way to take part in a TV show. His body was found two days later in a canal near the town of Mandi Bahauddin, about 120 km south of Islamabad, bearing signs of severe torture.

Shahzad, a father of three, also worked as a for AKI, wrote for La Stampa, and Pakistani daily Dawn. Prior to his killing he had written about alleged links between Al Qaeda and the

A government-appointed commission of enquiry in 2012 failed to establish who was responsible for Shahzad's murder.

"Among his contacts was (Hamid) Gul a three-star general and former ISI who knew the deepest secrets of Pakistani politics," said Molinari.

Shahzad's move from to was to prove fatal for the reporter, who after publishing his 2011 book "Inside Al Qaeda and the Taliban", focused on the alleged links between Pakistan's armed forces and the two terror outfits.

"He uncovered an allegedly secret cell within with links to Al Qaeda, rumours began to swirl that he worked for the CIA and he started to receive death threats," Molinari stated.

Shortly before his murder, wrote to telling him that investigations should centre on the ISI should anything happen to him, Molinari recalled.

According to friends and colleagues, ISI warned the at least three times prior to his death.



(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, December 04 2018. 15:52 IST