Machinations of Fear

Pakistan is in a crisis. For nearly two decades Pakistan has fought it’s militarily superior neighbour India through the use of irregular forces. Terrorism as we call it. However Pakistan is now under the grasp of islamic extremism. While the rest of the world was concentrating in Iraq and Afghanistan we failed to notice the new spectre rising in Pakistan.

It is well known (now atleast with the killing of Osama bin Laden) that the Pakistani army and secret service (the ISI – Inter-Services Intelligence) were supporters of members of the Jihadi movement while NATO troops were in Afghanistan. That groups such as Lakshar-e-Toiba were responsible for attacks on Indian civilians rather than on troops as part of a war.

Credible deniability was the name of the game until Osama was caught. Now it’s a lot harder to spin the fact that elements of Pakistan’s government were supporting terror groups.

These are all the turnings of big wheels. Giant cogs, and when these turn sometimes little people get caught in the gears.

Syed Saleem Shahzad disappeared on the evening of 29 May 2011 in Islamabad. He reportedly left his home around 5:30 pm local time that evening to take part in a TV show scheduled for 6:00 pm, but at 5:42 pm his cell phone was switched off and he failed to arrive at the television bureau. A complaint was lodged with the police the following morning. On May 31 it was reported that his car had been found with an unidentified body.

Identified by his parents, Syed Saleem Shahzad was tortured to death for being a journalist. His crime was to question the state’s involvement in cultivating terrorism via the ISI and his criticism of the handling of the PNS Mehran attack. The main criticism was that the attack was due to the breakdown of talks between the Pakistan Navy and Al-Qaeda which ended in the arrests of some sympathisers and this was the criticism being pushed forward by Mr. Shahzad himself. 

This is a new low in the field of Journalism and Pakistan. A free press is vital to any society, that reporting of news free of fear and oppression increases transparency of the ruling body. A truly free press reduces corruption by using the truth and Asia could do with a lot more truth. The death of Mr. Shahzad is a threat to free speech and a message to journalists who criticise the support of the islamic extremist movement. 

The question remains whether the journalists will assert their power of the truth or hide from these threats.

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