February 21, 2020
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The Missing Murdered Pakistani Journalist. RIP

The Missing Murdered Pakistani Journalist. RIP

(added the above Youtube link — please watch after the 07:10 mark)

Syed Saleem Shahzad, the Pakistan bureau chief of The Asia Times, was reported missing from Islamabad since Sunday, May 29

The Dawn had earlier quoted an email from Ali Imran, a Coordinator at the South Asia Free Media Association (Safma) as saying that Mr Shahbaz had left his house in Islamabad to participate in a television program [apparently on the Dunya news channel] on Sunday but that he did not reach the TV station. He did not contact his family and friends either, Mr Imran said, adding that Mr Shahzad’s mobile phone and car had not been traced yet.

As the Dawn article notes, days before his disappearance, Mr Shahzad had authored an article that alleged links between navy officials and al Qaeda. This was meant to be the first of a two-part article which suggested that the attack on PNS Mehran naval air station in Karachi on May 22 was a result of the talks that " failed between the navy and al-Qaeda over the release of naval officials arrested on suspicion of al-Qaeda links."

Mr Shahzad's article had, inter alia, gone on to say:

The May 2 killing in Pakistan of Osama bin Laden spurred al-Qaeda groups into developing a consensus for the attack in Karachi, in part as revenge for the death of their leader and also to deal a blow to Pakistan's surveillance capacity against the Indian navy.

The deeper underlying motive, though, was a reaction to massive internal crackdowns on al-Qaeda affiliates within the navy.

Mr Shahzad's article had concluded with:

After Bin Laden was killed by American Navy Seals in Abbottabad, 60 kilometers north of Islamabad, militants decided the time was ripe for major action.

Within a week, insiders at PNS Mehran provided maps, pictures of different exit and entry routes taken in daylight and at night, the location of hangers and details of likely reaction from external security forces.

As a result, the militants were able to enter the heavily guarded facility where one group targeted the aircraft, a second group took on the first strike force and a third finally escaped with the others providing covering fire. Those who stayed behind were killed.

There has been much speculation on whether or not Pakistan's intelligence agencies could be responsible for Mr Shahzad's disappearance.

Twitter is abuzz with tweets suggesting:

Journalist Saleem Shahzad feared abduction by #ISI. and left statement with #HRW in case of abduction. #FreeSaleemShahzad

Follow the hashtag #FreeSaleemShahzad for developments.

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