What is truth? According to
Merriam-Webster, truth is defined as: fact, the
body of real things, an idea that is true or
accepted as true, and reality. What then is a
journalist? A journalist is a writer who aims at a
mass audience through the medium of journalism.
Journalism is writing characterized by a direct
presentation of facts or a description of events
without an attempt at interpretation. This means a
journalism is a writer who writes truth without
personal opinion based upon fact and reality.
Journalist Syed Saleem Shahzad was the
Pakistan Bureau Chief of Asia Times Online,
covering issues of global security, focusing on
al-Qaeda and the Taliban. Shahzad has reported on
Islamist movements, taking him to Iraq, Lebanon,
Jordan, Iran, Syria and the United Arab Emirates.
Saleem introduced the world to al-Qaeda
and Sheikh Essa. His interviews included: Taliban
commanders Sirajuddin Haqqani and
Qari Ziaur Rahman, and Ilyas
Kashmiri, who leads 313 Brigade, the operational
arm of al-Qaeda.
On May 20, 2011, 11 days
before his untimely death, Saleem's new book was
released: Inside Al-Qaeda and the Taliban:
Beyond Bin Laden and 9/11 through Pluto Press
in the UK. On May 4, Shahzad wrote of the death of
Osama bin Laden.
In November of 2007,
Saleem constructed a brief on Pakistan Security
Research Unit (PSRU) entitled: The
Gathering Strength of Taliban and Tribal Militants
in Pakistan. The brief focused on extremism,
terrorism, nuclear weapons, internal stability and
cohesion, and was a useful resource for anyone
interested in the security of Pakistan.
quote Saleem: "The unending Pakistan/NATO/US
military operations in the tribal areas, which are
seen by Taliban and tribal groups as being fought
for a complete victory and without a will for
political reconciliation, have radicalized
Pakistan's North West Frontier Province."
"After 9/11, a very rustic
religious zeal and the Taliban's affinity with
Pakistani tribal groups was the reason behind providing
shelter to the Arab-Afghan Diaspora in South
Waziristan and North Waziristan,
but Washington-sponsored Pakistan's half-hearted military operations
in 2002-03 united some of the force in a
shared war of retribution."
Saleem is presenting is an investigative document
based on historical fact and research
without imbuing it with his own opinion.
What then again is truth? The body of real things.
A journalist? A writer who aims at an audience
with a direct presentation of fact without adding
his own opinion.
On May 31, 2011, Saleem
Shahzad was found dead. Syed Saleem Shahzad went
missing on Sunday, after he left his home in the
capital to take part in a talk show, but never
arrived. He disappeared two days after writing an
investigative report in Asia Times Online that
Al-Qaeda carried out last month's attack on a naval
air base to avenge the arrest of naval officials
arrested on suspicion of al-Qaeda links (see Al-Qaeda
had warned of Pakistan strike, Asia Times
Online, May 26).
Human Rights Watch,
Amnesty International, Committee to Protect
Journalists and Democracy Now have issued public
statements regarding the abject horror over one
man's death. In 2006, Saleem was captured by the
Taliban in Afghanistan, yet he remained alive.
Refer to Saleem's 2007 brief: "As
Western-backed military operations continue,
Taliban numbers are rising steeply and their
confidence is growing. They have even been joined
by some Pakistan Army officers who have resigned
from the Pakistan Army."
with: "The Taliban are planning to take the war to
Pakistan and Afghanistan's major cities and to
build an Islamic Emirate. The more the US-backed
war is prolonged, the more sophisticated the
Taliban will be in their strategic development."
Read the above sentence again.
That was 2007.
Associated Press of Pakistan reports: "President
Asif Ali Zardari expressed his deep grief and
sorrow ... The President expressed his
determination to bring the culprits to justice. He
said the present government firmly believes in
freedom of media and promotion of democratic
The constitution of Pakistan
states in the preamble: "Therein shall be
guaranteed fundamental rights, including equality
of status, of opportunity and before law, social,
economic and political justice, and freedom of
thought, expression, belief, faith, worship and
association, subject to law and public morality."
In Part II: Chapter 1: Fundamental Rights:
Article 19: "Every citizen shall have the right to
freedom of speech and expression, and there shall
be freedom of the press, subject to any reasonable
restrictions imposed by law in the interest of the
glory of Islam or the integrity, security or
defence of Pakistan or any part thereof, friendly
relations with foreign states, public order,
decency or morality, or in relation to contempt of
court, commission of, or incitement to an
Read that again.
After Saleem's body was found some six miles (10 kilometers)
from his car, an initial exam found signs of
torture, but autopsy results were pending.
Article 5: The Universal Declaration of
Human Rights: "No one shall be subjected to
torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading
treatment or punishment."
was a journalist in the truest sense. He presented
fact without his own opinion. Why then is he not
Article 19: The Universal
Declaration of Human Rights: "Everyone has the
right to freedom of opinion and expression; this
right includes freedom to hold opinions without
interference and to seek, receive and impart
information and ideas through any media and
regardless of frontiers."