Thursday, June 2, 2011

Journalist killed in Pakistan condemns Washington

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has condemned Tuesday, May 31, the assassination of a Pakistani journalist who disappeared after writing an article on links between the Pakistani army and Al Qaeda. "The United States strongly condemns the abduction and murder of journalist Syed Saleem Shahzad," Clinton wrote in a statement.

"His work on issues of terrorism and intelligence has highlighted the problems that extremism poses to Pakistan's stability," said she, adding that Washington welcomes the announcement of an investigation the murder. Shahzad, 40, was a correspondent for the Italian news agency Adnkronos International (AKI) and bureau chief in Pakistan from AsiaTimes Online news site based in Hong Kong.

His body was found Tuesday near his car, Sarai Alamgir, about 150 km southeast of the capital, and was identified by his relatives. He had disappeared Sunday after leaving his home in Islamabad to attend a TV show, where it never happened. He was beaten and tortured to death, said Wednesday, one of the doctors who performed the autopsy.

"There are many signs of torture on his body and face," said Dr. Ashok Kumar of the Pakistan Institute of Medical Science, Islamabad, without further detail. Another doctor said his lungs and his liver had been damaged. The interior minister, Rehman Malik has ordered an investigation, offering a reward of some 20 000 euros for any information.

This disappearance had occurred two days after the publication by Asia Times Online investigation concluding that the attack last week against a naval air base in Karachi, southern Pakistan, was a revenge of Al-Qaeda for the arrest of naval officers suspected of links with Al Qaeda. The attack on the base, which lasted seventeen hours of May 22 to 23, killing ten soldiers had been claimed by the Pakistani Taliban to avenge the death of Osama bin Laden, killed May 2 by U.S.

commandos. The journalist had complained of threats from the Pakistani intelligence agency (ISI), Ali Dayan Hasan assured, Human Rights Watch. Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has ordered an investigation into the abduction and murder, ensuring that the guilty would be "brought to justice." Relations between Islamabad and Washington have been strained after the U.S.

operation that killed May 2 leader of al-Qaida in the garrison town of Abbottabad, north of Pakistan.

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