Last Updated: Monday, 16 October 2017, 14:54 GMT

Journalists Killed in 2011 - Motive Confirmed: Saleem Shahzad

Publisher Committee to Protect Journalists
Publication Date 20 December 2011
Cite as Committee to Protect Journalists, Journalists Killed in 2011 - Motive Confirmed: Saleem Shahzad, 20 December 2011, available at: [accessed 17 October 2017]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Asia Times Online
May 29 or 30, 2011, in Mandi Bahauddin, Pakistan

Shahzad, 40, vanished on May 29, after writing about alleged links between Al-Qaeda and Pakistan's navy. His body was found on May 31 near the town of Mandi Bahauddin, about 75 miles (120 kilometers) south of the capital, Islamabad. His friends said the body showed signs of torture around the face and neck. He had told colleagues that he had been receiving threats from intelligence officials in recent months.

Shahzad was reported missing after he failed to show up for a televised panel discussion in Islamabad. He was scheduled to discuss his recent article for Asia Times Online in which he reported that Al-Qaeda, having infiltrated the Pakistani navy, was behind a 17-hour siege at a naval base in Karachi on May 22. He said the attack came after the military or security officials refused to release a group of naval officials suspected of being linked to militant groups. The attack, coming soon after the U.S. killing of Osama bin Laden on May 2, was deeply embarrassing to the Pakistani military. Earlier in May, three navy buses carrying recruits had been blown up via remote control devices in Karachi, the large port city where the navy is headquartered.

Shahzad's death also came a few days after the release of his book, Inside the Taliban and Al-Qaeda.

For months, the journalist had been telling friends that he had been warned by intelligence agents to stop reporting on sensitive security matters. In October 2010, Shahzad told Ali Dayan Hasan, a researcher for Human Rights Watch in Pakistan, that he had been threatened by a top official at a meeting at the headquarters of the Inter Services Intelligence Directorate in Rawalpindi.

Hasan said Shahzad sent him a note describing the meeting "in case something happens to me or my family in the future," Human Rights Watch reported. Hameed Haroon, president of the All Pakistan Newspapers Society and a former employer of Shahzad, said he had received a similar message at about the same time.

Shahzad was known for his courage and tenacity in reporting. He had started out as a beat reporter in the notoriously violent city of Karachi in the 1990s, but soon worked his way up to covering political, military, and security issues.

Job:Columnist / Commentator, Internet Reporter
Beats Covered:Business, Corruption, Politics, War
Local or Foreign:Local
Type of Death:Murder
Suspected Source of Fire:Government Officials
Taken Captive:Yes
Copyright notice: © Committee to Protect Journalists. All rights reserved. Articles may be reproduced only with permission from CPJ.

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