Saleem Shahzad, who had earlier announced the danger to his life from the intelligence services (ISI) in Pakistan was abducted last Sunday, May 29, and his body was discovered on May 31. This is one more of the mysterious abductions and extrajudicial killings that have been taking place in Pakistan on a regular basis. He is the 70th journalist to meet this fate since the year 2000. Many other civilians have also been abducted and disappeared and their numbers are counted in the thousands. The state has failed to recognise these large scale abductions and killings and take any effective action to prevent them from occurring. In fact, the popular perception is that these abductions and killings take place with the knowledge of the country’s intelligence services and other authorities.
Mr. Saleem Shahzad was known to the Asian Human Rights Commission. He was shocked by many of the happenings related to security operations and was engaged in exposing these through his journalism. He was a committed journalist who defended the freedom of expression and called for accountability and protection for the people. It was his commitment to truth and the belief of his own duties to his community that cost him his life.