Hameed Haroon backs HRW claims on Saleem Shahzad abduction, murder

A leading newspaper publisher in Pakistan and the president of  the nationwide newspapers body has reacted sharply  to charges by the Inter Services`Intelligence Agency (ISI) that allegations by Human Rights Watch of the intelligence agency’s involvement in the abduction and murder of  Pakistani journalist Salim Shahzad were “baseless”. Following is the full text of his statement, released to the media on June 1, 2010.

“It has come to my notice that a spokesman of Inter Services Intelligence  (ISI) while speaking to the official national news agency in Islamabad yesterday has questioned the ‘baseless allegations’ leveled by Human Rights Watch on the basis of an email from Saleem Shahzad, the Bureau Chief of the Hong Kong based Asia Times Online, in their possession. Mr Shahzad was  murdered three days ago near Islamabad after being abducted by unknown persons.

“I wish to state on record that the email in the possession of Mr Ali Dayan, the monitor for Human Rights Watch (HRW) stationed in Lahore Pakistan, is indeed one of the three identical emails sent by Mr Shahzad to HRW, his employers (Asia Times Online) and to his former employer, myself.  I also wish to verify that allegations levied by HRW at the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) are essentially in complete consonance with the contents of the slain journalist’s email ”

“In their denial issued Wednesday an anonymous spokesman from the ISI has  questioned the ‘baseless allegation’ leveled against ISI by Mr Dayan of HRW.  I wish to state on the record for the information of the officers involved in investigating journalist Saleem Shahzad’s gruesome murder, that the late journalist confided to me and several others that he had received death threats from various officers of the ISI on at least three occasions in the past five years. Whatever the substance of these allegations, they form an integral part of Mr Shahzad’s last testimony. Mr Shahzad’s purpose in transmitting this information to three concerned colleagues in the media was not to defame the  ISI but to avert a possible fulfillment of what he clearly perceived to be a death threat. The last threat which I refer to was recorded by Mr Shahzad by email with me, tersely phrased as ‘for the record’ at  precisely 4.11 am on October18, 2010, wherein he recounted the details of his meetings at the ISI headquarters in Islamabad  between the Director General- Media  Wing (ISI) Rear- Admiral Adnan Nazir,  with the Deputy Director General of  the Media Wing, Commodore Khalid Pervaiz, also being present on the occasion.

“The ostensible agenda for this meeting was the subject of Mr Shahzads’s story of Asia Times Online with respect to the Pakistan government freeing of senior Afghan  Taliban commander, Mullah Baraadar. Mr Shahzad informed the senior officials that he story was leaked by a intelligence channel in Pakistan, and confirmed thereafter by the ‘most credible Taliban’s source’. The senior officials present suggested to Mr Shahzad  that he officially deny the story, which he refused to do, terming the official’s demand  as ‘impractical’.

“The senior intelligence official was ‘curious’ to identify the source of Mr Shahzad’s story claiming it to be a ‘shame’ that such a leak should occur from the offices of a high profile intelligence service.  Mr Shahzad additionally stated that the Rear Admiral offered him some information, ostensibly ‘as a favour’ in the following words: ‘We have recently arrested a terrorist and have recovered a lot of data, diaries and other materials  during the interrogation. The terrorist had a hit list with him. If I find your name on the list I will certainly let you know.’

“Mr Shahzad subsequently confirmed to me in a conversation that he not only interpreted this  conversation as a veiled threat to his person. He also informed me that he let an official from the ISI know soon thereafter that he intended to share the content of this threat with his colleagues ..

“As President of the  All Pakistan Newspapers Society  (APNS) and as head of Pakistan’s leading media group I consider the the security of  journalists to be of paramount importance. At present the APNS has officially committed itself to the creation of a national body for the investigations of serious threats to the lives of journalists, a body which the Committee to Protect Journalists in New York, and other leading organizations in the Pakistani press and human rights bodies  have promised to lend vigorous support to. Pakistan has one of the high rates in the world for journalists killings and such an environment is inimical  to the functioning of democracy. The government and the intelligence agencies should take the investigation into Mr Shahzad’s murder seriously and examine his last testimony closely.

“Whether the Oct 18th incident itself  or his last article in the Asia Times Online, that alleged Al-Qaeda penetration of the security curtain for Pakistani Naval establishment in Karachi hastened his murder is for the official investigation to uncover. And nobody not even the ISI should be above the law.”

Hameed Haroon

4 Responses

  1. […] Hameed Haroon backs HRW claims on Saleem Shahzad abduction, murder […]




    TORONTO: Syed Saleem Shahzad—Another brave son sacrificed his precious life in the line of duty, for the people and his motherland, Pakistan.
    He paid this price for supporting and telling the truth and exposing the traitors and enemies. This was also a message for others to keep silent or face this fate. This was meant to create a terror and is indeed a brazen act of terrorism. It should be condemned in the strongest words and ways and the killers be fearlessly exposed and severely punished.
    The traitor mafia actively helping international conspirators in promoting massive corruption to harm and destroy society, system, people and Pakistan is now acting openly to implement the dirty plans and schemes of the enemies. Hurdles and obstacles like Syed Saleem Shahzad are removed from the scene. Crocodile tears cannot hide the facts.
    The enemies have surrounded Pakistan and are very cunningly conspiring, moving and taking position to target, attack and destroy the nuclear facilities and break Pakistan into pieces. It is for sure that now they want to occupy and destroy Pakistan.
    But such cowardly acts of the traitor mafia and enemies of Pakistan cannot stop the brave sons of Pakistan from exposing and challenging the traitors and enemies, supporting the truth and defending their people and motherland.
    Patriotic Pakistanis anywhere in the world are committed, determined and prepared to sacrifice everything including their lives for the motherland.
    Thousands of lives were sacrificed for the creation of Pakistan and thousands more could be sacrificed to protect Pakistan from the traitors, terrorists and enemies.
    The martyrdom of Syed Saleem Shahzad or others will not deter or scare the journalists or brave sons of Pakistan but would definitely create hundreds more such courageous ones. This is the good quality and purity of the fine Pakistani soil. Let the traitor mafia and enemies of Pakistan know that Pakistan is not a piece of cake.
    No doubt the enemies are doing their cunning best to turn this Land of Pure into an overflowing sewerage drain. Seeing the deteriorating condition and worsening situation and the massive harm and damage caused, it seems and looks they are emerging successful. The country is passing through extremely difficult phase, facing very tough challenges and fast moving towards massive destruction and break up.
    But Pakistan can be and will be saved. Instead of crying, complaining and proving ourselves as helpless, beggars and slaves, we must start thinking positively. Forget all differences and the past. Prepare for the future. All we have to do is to stand up courageously to face challenges and the traitor mafia, corrupt lobby and enemies. This is the best right time for us to stand up and fight for our freedom, rights and survival.
    We must identify, expose and punish the traitors, corrupt ones and the enemies within us. We have to do this in order to save people and Pakistan and free them from the strong grips of the worst kinds of creatures, vultures and beasts.
    If we don’t then we can say goodbye to Pakistan and Freedom and not only the people but their many generations to come will become and remain slaves and beggars for the rest of their lives. The choice is crystal clear—Freedom or Slavery.
    Is it really difficult to find, identify and expose the traitor mafia, corrupt ones and enemies? The corrupt army generals, bureaucrats and politicians are the commonly known ones. They are living like kings, while people are suffering and dying. They have brought disgrace and destruction to the people and Pakistan. Yet people fear and tolerate them. Till how long will this—injustice, cruelty and slavery—continue? When will the people wake up, realize and start preparing to make themselves really powerful?
    Instead of getting scared and snubbed, let us learn a lesson from supreme sacrifice of our courageous son Syed Saleem Shahzad and many others and pledge to stand up and fight against the terrorists, traitors and enemies of the people and Pakistan.
    We belong to the pure and fine soil of Pakistan and let’s pledge to fight and die for the people and Pakistan. We don’t have to wear a uniform for this. All we need to do is to make a sincere pledge and commitment. This is how we can face the traitor mafia and the tough challenges of terrorism.
    People were proud of Pakistan Army and considered it the defenders of the people and country. But massive corruption in this sacred institution had only brought insult and harmed the country. For the sake of power and their vested interests, they allegedly murdered top leaders including Mohammad Ali Jinnah, Founder of the Nation, Liaquat Ali Khan, Z. A. Bhutto, Benazir Bhutto and REAL DEMOCRACY.
    Where are proud and patriotic army officers and soldiers? Why are they acting as silent spectators and allowing the corrupt ones in the army to harm the people and country. The corrupt ones have sold secrets and Pakistan and made billions of dollars, which belong to the people. Because of them, people are facing worst kind of situation and miserable condition including poverty.
    Over 85 per cent of the national budget goes to the army, just to make them powerful enough to defend the people and country. But are they really defending and protecting the people and country?
    The corrupt ones have instead made Pakistan Army a tool of the enemies and keep conquering and destroying their own people and country. These are their major achievements and contributions. They have become the most dangerous enemies of the people. They have made the army boss and the people servant. We cannot depend on such lots for our security and safety. They have turned out to be robbers and plunderers.
    The patriotic army officers and soldiers need to practically act for an Operation Clean-Up in the army. This is extremely necessary to save people and Pakistan.
    An Operation Clean-Up is also needed to expose and punish the corrupt ones in the bureaucracy and politics. This will discourage all others involved in corruption.
    The most important Operation Clean-Up must be started by the people themselves. It is they who are victimized and suffering the most. It is they who have become paupers instead of living like kings. It is time for practical changes. It is time to bring a real Revolution of the People. Save Pakistan, to save your skin and soul.
    Every soul must act in their own ways to make a share in the struggle for real freedom, rights and respect for people and Pakistan.
    The world must come forward to help and support in the real sense the people of Pakistan in their struggle against the tough challenges of terrorism and traitors.
    No matter what happens, as a Professional Journalist it is my duty and responsibility to keep supporting the truth and serving the people. It is my duty to fight for the freedom, rights and respect for all people. Canada has acknowledged my efforts by giving me the Free Expression Award in 2006. This recognition and support has always encouraged me to write freely and fiercely.
    The Pakistanis of Canadian and all other origins anywhere in the world must re-organize themselves and think and act positively to help protect Pakistan and the people.
    They must convince other communities that Pakistanis too are good people and giving tremendous sacrifices in the fight against terrorism and traitor mafia.
    Thousands of Pakistanis have been mercilessly killed by terrorist attacks or in fighting against terrorists. They are sacrificing lives to save the world from terrorism and to make the world a safe place to live in. Don’t insult them by not recognizing their supreme sacrifices. They deserve recognition and support. The world must not forget this. Pakistan and Pakistanis are doing a great job to protect the world and the people.
    Let us pay tribute to the brave son of Pakistan, Syed Saleem Shahzad, and all others like him who sacrificed their lives to make the world a safe place to live in. It will be because of them that there will be a better future for all of us tomorrow. Every drop of their blood is very precious. It will help bring a change tomorrow.
    I salute Syed Saleem Shahzad, my professional colleague, and all the martyrs. I also assure support to all those fighting for the real freedom, rights and respect of the people of any community and country. It is my duty and responsibility to fight for the right ones and rights.
    We must remain alert against the tricks and whispers of the devil and his followers. They act like angels and talk of peace but in reality they are human beasts and tear into pieces. So beware of all evil tricks and whispers including mainly the cunning propaganda and dirty policies and politics. They are the most difficult challenges of lives. The devil within you tempts you to follow the other devils (terrorists, criminals and corrupt ones) out there to destroy you and the mankind. This is what happens in most cases. This is the cause of most sin, corruption and destruction. They make your lives miserable and lead you to HELL.
    Examples and sacrifices of people like Syed Saleem Shahzad and other martyrs give you the courage to fight the devils—Terrorists, Traitors and Criminals. They have made Pakistanis and people of the world really proud. They truly deserve recognition, respect and tribute by the world. Only the enemies will remain silent and be happy.
    —Javed Zaheer (JAZA/JAYZEE/JZEE), Free Expression Award Winner, Desi Idol Recognition Award Winner, Member/Honorary Director of NEPMCC, Veteran Active Member (VAM) of Toronto Press Club, Member of The National Club and The Ontario Club, Honorary Editor of English Weekly `Pakistan Abroad’, ex-Chief Editor (Honorary) of English Weekly `The Ambassador’, ex-Senior Sub-Editor of English Daily DAWN, Pakistan, Chairman, CANOPI, and Director, Canpak Camber of Commerce, is contributing purely on Voluntary and Honorary Basis in order to serve all people and communities. Contact: (416)696-0981/ javedz@hotmail.com. To read more JZ’s exclusive articles, please visit the following websites: http://www.nepmcc.ca and http://www.nationalethnicpress.com (Home Pages & Editorial Sections. Scan years from 2004 to 2010), http://www.pakistanabroad.ca (Issues) and http://www.caribbeanbusinessmagazine.ca.


  3. Bravo Hameed Haroon.


  4. Good shot, Hameed. I hope all the publishers and media groups will follow you in this.


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