Foreign and Defense Policy, Terrorism

Death of a Journalist

I never met Saleem Shahzad, but like many Pakistan watchers I’ve followed his work for years. Shahzad, Pakistan correspondent for the online daily Asia Times, was what you might call a journalist’s journalist, a reporter other reporters kept track of for his frequent scoops about terrorism and other security matters in Pakistan.

Last week, Shahzad filed his last big story, which claimed that al Qaeda carried out the dramatic May 22 assault on a Pakistani naval base in Karachi after the navy failed to release officers arrested on suspicion of links with the terrorist organization. Shahzad went missing Sunday in Islamabad on his way to a television talk show to discuss the story.

Pakistan has received a lot of bad press of late, much of it justified. But buried beneath the bad news is the simple fact that the country houses some of the bravest journalists in the world. Saleem Shahzad was one of them. Here’s what the Guardian, the Wall Street Journal, and Asia Times have to say about his disappearance and death.

Perhaps whoever killed Shahzad was trying to intimidate a remarkably lively press. But if the Pakistani journalists I know are any indication, Shahzad’s killing is likely to have the opposite effect by amplifying calls for the country’s intelligence agencies and assorted jihadists alike to stop targeting journalists simply doing their jobs.

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