Where a story can cost you your life – Listening Post – Al Jazeera English.

This is not a brand new story, is ten days old in the case of Syed Saleem Shahzad, an investigative journalist from the Asia Times Online in Pakistan, 40 years old, father of 3 children between 14 and 4 years old, a man brave and conscious of the danger in what he was. He wrote what he found about the links between Al Qaeda and the Pakistani Navy and was abducted and killed before he could publish the second part of his story. It’s a longer story for many more journalists in Pakistan. 16 killed in a year according to the account of Al Jazeera English. It’s all explained in the most part of the video in the link posted at the top of this comment

Syed Saleem Shahzad


In the case if Syed Saleem Shahzad, it seems that the responsibility of his death points to the Intelligent Services of Pakistan. He was called days before by them and have a conversation that he understood as a threat. The agents, as always wanted to know the sources of his information. But by how this story followed, Shahzad was an ethic journalist. He knew the red lines of his job: find the truth, don’t kneel under political or military oppression to change or embellish the story, don’t betray the sources, don’t betray his conscience.

So threatened he felt that he send three e-mails to people with his confidence just in case something happened to him. And it happened.

Now, the theories are diverse: that he was killed by the extremist to compromise the Pakistani Intelligence or ISI, that it was actually the ISI.

It seems that he was tortured, beaten and found with broken ribs that pierced his lungs, and he was shot last year in this same part of his body (this shows what a dangerous life he was living just for being a journalist) and that was a fact most likely known by the ISI than by some thugs.

And then was the opportunity fact. the dangerous and compromising story, the links and negotiations between the Navy and Al Qaeda, before the last terrorist attack in Pakistani soil and after the location of bin Laden under the noses of the Pakistani Army.

Theories apart, this is the story of a Journalist who lost his life because he worked understanding what was his mission and was brave enough to tell a story that cost him his life. There are and were more of them, we just don’t know their names and their stories. May God give peace to Syed Saleem Shahzad and help his family. Let’s hope there will be many more like him surviving bravely over the risks anonymous, but so necessaries.

About Olga Brajnović

Journalist. In my fifties. I've worked for 26 years in a newspaper in Spain. I worked for two years as a stringer and correspondent in the US, and went as a special envoy to other places like the Balkans. Sea lover. Avid reader. Classic Music enthusiast.


Ethics, Journalism, World and Politics


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