Amir Mir writes:
In the shadowy world of Pakistan, journalists can be reasonably sure of living until the next morning when their byline appears. From there on, you don’t know who might take affront to your report, abduct, torture or even kill you. This is the essence of the tragic story of Syed Saleem Shahzad, 40-year-old Pakistan bureau chief of Asia Times Online, whose mutilated body was found in a canal 150 km away from Islamabad on May 31.
Shahzad went missing on the evening of May 29, just two days after the article “Al-Qaeda had warned of Pakistani strike” was published. The article stated that al-Qaeda was engaged in negotiations with the Pakistan Navy for the release of naval personnel incarcerated for alleged links to the terror outfit. The report said the navy had agreed to free them only on the completion of their interrogation, a term al-Qaeda rejected. The audacious attack on the Mehran naval base in Karachi on May 22, Shahzad’s story claimed, was an outcome of the breakdown in the navy-al-Qaeda negotiations, thereby testifying to the militant-military nexus.
Shahzad’s post-mortem report, prepared by a team of three doctors, found the journalist died soon after he was kidnapped. Dr Farrukh Kamal, who headed the autopsy team, said, “There were at least 17 wounds, including deep gashes… The ribs from the left and right sides seemed to be hit with violent force, using a blunt object. The broken ribs pierced Shahzad’s lungs, apparently causing the death.”