Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Saleem Shahzad & Future of Pakistan

Saleem Shahzad has become an instant celebrity. As a journalist for Asian Times, he was kidnapped on May 27th when he was going for an interview in Islamabad. On May 30th, that is, after three days of his kidnapping, his dead body was found from canal bank in Mandi Bahauddin. His murder became suspicious after his postmortem report in which the doctor said that he died due to excessive torture. The report noted that some of his ribs were broken.

Before his death, Shahzad received threatening calls from unknown people after writing an article about links between the Karachi police and Al-Qaida. When Shahzad was found missing, Geo News reported that he had said, “If I will be murdered, the source behind my murder will be ISI.”

Indeed, in recent news, the ISI is accused for his murder. New York Times reported that ISI directed an attack on him in order to “silence the criticism.”

The news about Shahzad’s death is disturbing. It made me angry because Pakistan is said to be a democratic state, where free press is allowed to flourish. However, in reality, this is not happening. Journalism is dying instead of flourishing. I believe the government should take protective measures and find Shahzad’s murderers because we don’t want the world to have a wrong idea about Pakistan (as if they don’t already after 9/11). Cases like Shahzad’s could mean that no one will ever try to strive for truth again in this country. In Islam, murder of a single person is considered as the murder of humanity. Men like Saleem Shahzad who are truthful, honest, sincere and brave are quickly disappearing from the world.

After this incidence, a question raised in my mind that our authorities are becoming selfish. They don’t care about anybody; they just care about their seats. In this cruel world, nobody wants to hear the truth. It is true that “truth is bitter” but if society doesn’t bother it, then that society will be soon finished. Like Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel said, without news, “darkness” will fall. Thus, we should strive to keep the truth alive forever—and for that, we have to protect our journalists first.

By Mahnoor Hafeez

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