|Tributes to Saleem
See Pakistan: Silencing the
truth-seekers, Target: Saleem,
Justice, not words, and
Why is he not alive?
Editor's note: A fund is being established for the family of Syed Saleem
Shahzad - his wife Anita, two sons aged 14 and seven, and daughter aged 12.
Asia Times Online's Pakistan bureau chief was murdered last week. A bank
account number should be available soon. We request anyone interested in
participating to contact us at this e-mail address: email@example.com.
Good men with truth to tell cannot be silenced by torture or death. Syed Saleem
Shahzad may have been rendered speechless; rendered speechless by the horror of
what some men will do to another. But good men, dedicated investigative
journalists with truths to tell, never die.
That's the power of words. That's the trickster here ... words survive, and so
the man, Saleem. Words live to enlighten some, indict others, encourage others
to seek the truth; dig deeper and document injustice wherever it exists. That
too, is the power of Asia Times Online which continues to support journalism in
its highest form.
In respect to Syed Saleem Shahzad who in his unwavering dedication to his
profession, sought out the hellish roots of a story whatever the cost, I can
only offer my most humble admiration ... and as a consistent reader - who has
been profoundly educated by the cornucopia of controversies and counter-play of
ideas documented by Asia Times Online - I add my sincere condolences to family
and colleagues for their personal loss; and thus acknowledge this reader's loss
in such an unwarranted and unjustified death.
Another family's tragedy, but let us celebrate the life of a brave soul who
lost his life in the quest for the incorruptible: truth.
With deepest condolences to Saleem's family.
I knew Syed Saleem Shahzad as a colleague for the past four years through
regular conversations by e-mail. His bravery was only matched by his unfailing
reporter's eyes and ears for where the true story was. He is one of the few
journalists in the region whose work I constantly looked towards for
inspiration and insight, and this was owing directly to his willingness to risk
everything to get to the truth.
I suppose it was inevitable that he paid for this quality with his life, a
price we must remember has been paid by far too many journalists across the
region in the last decade. But as a journalist and researcher I will do my best
to honor him by emulating as far as possible his willingness to place his
professional responsibility and commitment to the truth as a means of achieving
justice ahead of concerns for his own safety. In the end, we are all judged by
the quality of our lives and what we are willing to do for others, not by the
numbers of years we are granted.
In that sense, Saleem had a very long life and will continue to inspire
colleagues and people around the world long after the initial shock and pain of
his murder have begun to dull. My deepest condolences to his family and the
people of Pakistan more broadly.
I would like to express my condolences for the death of Syed Saleem Shahzad to
his family, loved ones, and the staff of Asia Times Online. I have been reading
the website daily for several years as I find its authors and their articles
unusually enlightening, intelligent, frank, and well informed. This applies in
particular to Syed Saleem Shahzad who went to the extreme to get the real story
out to the world.
A driven and courageous man dedicated to truth. His death is a great loss to
the freedom loving people of the world. In a world of lies there can be no
freedom and with him we just lost a shining light in a darkening world.
May he rest in peace. He certainly earned it!
Syed Saleem Shahzad was a brave journalist, who was martyred on the path of
seeking truth. Journalists all over the world particularly the journalist
community in Pakistan is mourning his death. Saleem’s murder amply reflects how
much the journalists and truth-seekers are vulnerable in Pakistan and how do
they face troubles in performing their duties.
The Pakistani journalist community has demanded that the government conduct an
inquiry into the Saleem's murder under the supervision of a supreme court
judge. The killers of Saleem must be brought to justice, otherwise the sense of
vulnerability among journalists in the country will become acute.
Saleem's death is a huge loss to all of us. A really nice chap, honest, brave
and hardworking journalist. I will miss his Investigative reports reading
insights into Pakistan. My deepest condolences to his family.
Syed Saleem Shahzad was a journalist of the highest caliber, and his loss
is devastating for those us who so admired his work. I considered Saleem one of
the best examples of committed, fact-based, intelligent and courageous
That example is Saleem's legacy, and it will remain a powerful contribution to
our community despite his death. He will never be forgotten by those of us he
helped so generously over the years.
I encourage Asia Times Online to push relentlessly to establish the facts of
his death, because we know he would do the same.
"I may be permitted to suggest that each [journalist] group member donates a
minimum of two euros or value for those left behind orphans. If the group of
16,000 decides that, I will double up one donation plus one euro for Syed
Saleem Shahzad's wife and children.
"In this crucial time of history of Pakistan, journalists cannot afford to keep
truth close to chest and die. That would do no good for the country."
Extract from a letter from Kulamarva Balakrishna, responding to a debate on the
role of journalists in Pakistan. Full letter to be published on Monday.
During Iraq war (about 10 years ago), I was disillusioned with the incompetent
western news (both print and TV media). Somehow, I stumbled onto Asia Times
Online. Since then, I religiously read your website and recommend it to my
Saleem's investigative reporting was unmatched. His efforts were admirable, his
journalistic caliber immeasurable, and his achievement untouchable. We will
miss him, dearly. I am glad Asia Times Online has set up a trust for Saleem's
"For the rest of the world, Saleem is the one.
For us, Saleem is the world."
Syed Saleem Shahzad not only sought out truths but also wrote impartially the
truths that he found, and wrote them whatever they were. His murder only throws
into relief the personal and professional qualities necessary to sustain such a
commitment without wavering for so long, under such difficult conditions. It
cannot be doubted that his example will inspire others to find those same
qualities within themselves.
Robert M Cutler
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.
Lest we forget.
Saleem, you are a very courageous man and we will not forget you and the light
that you shined into dark places. Rest in peace.
Mark A Norrie
I knew Saleem Shahzad as a prolific journalist, who could go any distance to
ensure a story and always present the truth. Despite his abilities, Saleem bhai
was a very down to earth person. Although we were from two different nations,
he was like an older brother, ready to give a piece of advice or forward mails
which he thought could help me out in my career as a journalist. My family and
I are shocked by the murder of such a human being. My heart goes out to his
family. Even after his death, Saleem bhai seems to have advised me
finally, never to bow down to corruption and terror no matter the threats and
risks on the way.
Syed Tashfin Chowdhury
Would you be so kind to pass my deepest condolences to Mr Syed Saleem Shahzad's
family for the tragic loss.
I had the privilege of meeting and talking to Saleem about his thoughts on the
security situation in Pakistan at a conference held in March at King's College
London. A number of times when we dined together with other delegates, Saleem
was the star of the show.
Saleem had the kind of contacts and insights into Pakistan's murky terror world
most academics are envious off, but secretly know they would never have the
courage to actually develop for themselves. I speak not only for myself but for
everyone at King's who was a part of that event, we are would like to do
whatever we can to help.
Can we help in setting up of the fund for Saleem family? Or please forward me
the details of the fund once established so that we can pass it around here.
Ayesha S Siddiqi
War Studies Department
King's College London
Syed Saleem Shahzad's murder is not the first. Dozens of journalists have been
victimized by intelligence agencies in Pakistan.
Intact real rulers are intelligence agencies and army generals in Pakistan.
Their policies are called state policies here and their interests are the
polices. The fact is that the media is not free in Pakistan.
Few neutral journalists can work independently. If any journalist write true
story for any foreign media organization, he captured by intelligence agencies
easily. Syed Salem Shehzad was one of them. He wrote a true story about the
terrorist attack in Karachi and was captured by the ISI.
After this incident who will have the courage for work as a true journalist in
Pakistan? This is unfortunate, but this is fact. I think the UN should take
action on the murder of Syed Saleem Shahzad and pressurize the government of
Pakistan to ensure his murderers will be punished.
Rana Abrar Khalid
I have been reading Asia Times Online for many years, but mainly visit to read
Syed Saleem Shahzad's pieces and was greatly looking forward to reading his new
book. I marveled at how he managed to have access to people that no one else
reporting seemed to have, and I appreciated greatly the angles he wrote from
because he was not a Western journalist.
His shocking, if not wholly surprising, assassination leaves an unfillable hole
so far as I can see, and the world will be a more ignorant place without his
journalism. For me, his death is even more tragic than that of Anna
Politkovskaya who was another hero of mine. Please pass on my deepest
condolences to his family.
I am a fan of Saleem as he was a very straight forward and fearless writer. A
journalist who always spoke truth. Just few days back we exchanged few e-mails.
He hinted the likelihood of mutiny by mid-cadre officers in defense forces of
Pakistan. I, very strongly refuted his assumptions basing on my experience of
services in Pakistan army. After reading my arguments he agreed and wrote,
"ideas well taken".
When PNS Mehran incident took place, I got an e-mail from him drawing my
attention towards mutiny at PNS Mehran. I again snubbed him and explained that
mutiny in classical military terminology is quite different what he was
interpreting. Later, he advised me to read his article on PNS Mehran. He
prepared this report in two parts.
The first part appeared in Asia Times Online on May 27. On May 28, when second
part did not appear I asked him about it. He replied that due to some
commitments he could not write and would do it next week. This proposed next
week took him somewhere else. What was in his second report probably no one
will ever come to know.
What a pathetic state prevails in Pakistan. Pakistani elite both in civil and
brass considers that silencing the voice of truth might yield some good results
for them, but they are mistaken.
Intelligence agencies appeared to be more brutal than the Taliban, who let
Saleem live after warnings. I was expecting the intelligence agencies to free
him with in 48 to 72 hours but that was a wishful thinking. The ethical
standards of Pakistan's intelligence agencies have fallen too far. But in spite
of all this, I am sure mission undertaken by Saleem will continue.
Many more Saleems will be ready to march forward and this journey of speaking
truth will continue. Please pass my heartfelt condolences to Saleem's wife and
Editor's note: Saleem did intend to write a second part to his
investigation. He never got to complete it, and accordingly a second part will
not be published.
As an avid reader of your news site and admirer of Syed Saleem Shahzad's
hard-nosed articles, I was horrified and outraged about his savage killing. May
he rest in peace and give comfort to his family and colleagues.
I pray that the perpetrators of this heinous crime get exposed and brought to
justice. Keep up the good work, your site is a shining light on the truth
that's hard to find these days in the journalistic world.
My deepest condolences to Syed Saleem Shahzad’s family for the tragic loss. A
once shining star among the Asia Times Online reporting pleiad, Saleem will be
Saleem was an outstanding man with sharp intelligence, analytical skills, and
considering the depth of his reach in sources, a sincere person with great
As a legacy, it would be nice if Asia Times Online could compile all the
articles by Saleem and publish them online in one place. If you decide on a
subscription to this content, it would be even nicer if the proceeds go to his
family or towards a journalistic award of excellence named after him.
I am very sorry for the tragic loss of Saleem Shahzad, a prominent journalist
and one of the strongest researchers of our profession.
His murder shows us, in this part of the world, there is a corrupt system which
has a power of eliminating its brave foes with torture and murder.
I pray for him and may Allah his soul rest in peace ... Amen.
Ardan Zenturk, Columnist
Please accept my heartfelt condolences on the tragic and terrible murder of
Syed Saleem Shahzad. He was a courageous journalist who exposed the truth
fearlessly . Have been following his articles for years . His death is an
irreparable loss not only for his family but to Pakistan as a country since he
was a source for telling us the raw truth. I strongly condemn this brutal act
and hope that justice is done.
I write in tribute to Syed Saleem Shahzad and to express my disgust with what
has happened. Reading his articles through the years brings to the mind the
duty that we his readership have to ensure that his life and work do not fade
into the past and that the perpetrators of this act come to justice.
I am extremely sorry to hear about what happened to Syed Saleem Shahzad. He was
an extremely courageous person. My deepest condolences go to his family.
I used to read all of Syed Saleem Shahzad’s articles on Asia Times Online. He
provided insights in to the dark world of terrorism and Pakistani state
affairs. But over the time I felt that he was taking a lot of risk which might
put him in danger. Unfortunately that is exactly what happened.
I don’t know the kind of relationship Asia Times Online have with reporters
like Shahzad. Anyhow, it seems he was a dare-devil himself and may not have
listened to advice on safety matters. But when people like Shahzad and Daniel
Pearl get killed like this it feels personal to readers. After all it is the
demand of readers including me which requires such reporters.
I have no hope that Pakistan will investigate his death and something will come
out of this. But I am sure you will do whatever is in your capacity to that
effect and also making sure that such events are less likely to happen in
Since seeing the news break last night, I am in shock and sadness over the
murder of Syed Saleem Shahzad. I am so sorry - his work through ATol was
prolific, brave, important, committed ... We had chance to interact just once,
when you published my article on Swat Valley (attacks on Gandhara Buddha). His
loss is our loss - the world, Pakistan and journalism needed him, and continues
to need others like him. I feel quite sick and depressed by it.
My thoughts are with the team at ATol as well as Saleem's family at this sad
and tragic time. You remain in my thoughts and prayers. May what Saleem lived
and breathed for give you all strength.
I am saddened by the news of the death of Syed Saleem Shahzad, particularly
under the particular circumstance. I wish to express my condolences for Asia
Times Online's loss.
What a tragic loss of Saleem Shahzad. He was the best of the investigative
journalists attempting to weed out the truth of the vicious, violent Pakistan
state. Having read his postings for a number of years, I have grown to respect
and trust his reporting. What an evil Pakistan ISI (Inter-Services
Intelligence) to take such a good, respected man from us.
President Zardari, find the monsters who tortured and killed Syed Saleem
Shahzad and the 40 other unsolved journalist murders. My family offers Saleem
Shahzad's wife and three children our greatest sympathy. Your husband and
father was a hero.
DISPATCHES FROM A TROUBLED SPRING
(Elegy for Syed Saleem Shahzad)
We are all broken -
Like chips of shattered cups
Reassembled by illogic.
There are too many of us
& the planet groans
Under our weight.
The news tells me
A courageous Pakistani journalist
Has been murdered.
A veil of sadness shrouds this time.
It is so hard to sustain hope
In this climate of pain.
Yet, embers are scattered about
& deep souls tend those embers.
As long as they do
Love has not disappeared.
We are all broken.
Tend to the mending,
Bandage the wounded,
Be useful where you can.
Phil Woods, American
I am deeply saddened by the death of Syed Saleem Shahzad. His articles were
always some of the best treats in your publication. He was very factual and it
was very rare to find his articles filled with opinions.
Like someone said today in your paper, "he never took sides." The ISI or
whatever government agency killed him, may have turned off his life but they
cannot turn off truth. Through history and today in modern times, despots and
the governments they represent, have tried to control the people. However they
cannot control the truth. The truth is their worst enemy.
Syed Saleem Shahzad was an messenger of truth. God rest his soul and my heart
goes to his family and his co-workers at Asia Times Online.
What a terrible loss to all of us who over the years have depended on Asia
Times Online to give us the real news on what is happening in South Asia. He
will be greatly missed by all scholars in Canada.
John W Warnock
I was deeply saddened to read about Saleem's murder, and I wish to offer my
heartfelt condolences to his family, especially his wife and children. He was
truly an exceptional journalist and will be hard to replace. Does Asia Times
Online intend to start a fund for his children? Please let us know.
Contributing to such a fund would be the least we could do to honor him.
We are writing to you from Berlin to express our deepest condolences for the
unfathomable loss of your brilliant and courageous colleague and friend, Syed
Saleem Shahzad. Our compassion also goes out to his family.
As we have written to your wonderful colleague Pepe Escobar, journalists like
him and Shahzad have given us some hope for this world, and without them we
would be living in utter darkness.
We read your website daily, and it is a treasure for us. We so appreciate what
you and your brave colleagues do to make this world a better and more illumined
place. We shall try to show our gratitude ...
We are small independent filmmakers and occasional translators (from NYC and
Kabul) but, together with a few insightful political website editors and
committed journalist friends in Germany, we are working on some kind of
international inter-networking idea for support and solidarity with journalists
and sites like yours.
Wishing you and your entire staff the best of health and protection and
success, we remain yours in solidarity.
Nora Hoppe and Tariq Marzbaan
Would you be so good as to convey my sincerest condolences to Syed Saleem
My condolences to the family, friends and colleagues on the tragic death of
journalist Syed Saleem Shahzad. Also, my condolence to the readers of his
articles. Now we will miss his honest reporting. Saleem Shahzad was a good
source to know and understand events in Pakistan. It's sad that his killers
won't be caught. We will miss you Saleem Shahzad!
I never thought I’d find myself writing to Asia Times ever again, but the
tragic death of Saleem Shahzad was far too distressing. You have lost one of
your finest journalists, but Pakistan has surely lost one of its brightest
I always gained a deeper understanding of the malaise that is AfPak with every
article he wrote. His courage was inspirational, and he will be sorely missed.
I am shocked to hear of the death of Syed Saleem Shahzad. I always read
intently what he had to say. His courage and integrity and honestly was clear
from the way he took risks to inform us of what was happening in the region.
I especially admired and respected his accounts of being inside Afghanistan,
the description of which made me feel I was there with him.
I send condolences to his wife and children and I am saddened to hear of the
murder of this fine journalist.
Wilson John Haire
I have been following Syed Saleem Shahzad's articles on Asia Times Online for
the past 10 years. During those years I have often disagreed with Shahzad's
opinions and on occasions been frustrated enough to write in with my criticism,
but I've never stopped reading him due to the unique insight he was able to
bring right from the center of affairs.
May Allah make his grave an abode of peace for him and may He grant him
paradise and may He protect the family and friends that Shahzad has left
behind. May Allah help us all. Ameen.
I was very saddened and shocked to hear of the killing of Syed Saleem Shahzad.
He was a journalist of great integrity. He also had great ability, and reported
on so many stories important stories that others completely missed.
This is a great loss to journalism. I never met him but he will be missed. My
sincere condolences to his wife, and sons, and daughter.
I offer my most sincere condolences over the death of Saleem Shahzad. I did not
know him personally but I was a keen reader of his so simply written and yet so
well informed stories on Pakistan and Afghanistan, and the terrible violence
engulfing the region. I once asked my colleagues to make it a habit to read
Shahzad if they wanted to know what was going on in Pakistan in particular.
I don't know what to say about those who killed a fellow human being so
brutally. I do hope that someone in Pakistan would take the trouble of telling
his family that innumerable people in India both loved and respected him - and
would miss him. I pray to God to give courage to his wife and children to cope
with this terrible tragedy.
M R Narayan Swamy
Please allow me to express my sorrow and my dismay at the kidnapping and murder
of Syed Saleem Shahzad. His reporting in Asia Times Online was consistently
informed not merely by his exceptional knowledge of the region, but also by his
understanding of the forces, internal and not least, external, at work there.
Through it all shone his concern for how die Realpolitik carried out
over their heads affected the lives of the ordinary people of Pakistan and the
M Henri Day
Syed Saleem Shahzad's brutal murder is an affront to truth and humanity. My
prayers are with his family and colleagues at Asia Times Online. He was one of
the most courageous and honest journalists, and I am honored to have published
articles in the same media as him.
I am deeply saddened by the murder of Syed Saleem Shahzad. Shahzad was, in my
humble opinion, the world’s best journalist. Through thorough and accurate
reporting, Shahzad gave the world an amazing prescient insight into one of the
most difficult and complex areas of modern day conflict. Looking out for
Shahzad's next article was a must. His courage and dedication to journalism
will be sorely missed.
My condolences to his family. I trust that Asia Times Online can set up a
facility to enable readers to make a gift to his family.
We , the bureau of peace and political affairs commission of Hezb-e-Islami
Afghanistan in the European Union, strongly condemn the kidnapping and murder
of Asia Times Online's Pakistan bureau chief, Syed Saleem Shahzad, in the
strongest words and see this act as inhuman, criminal and against the norms of
the freedom of the expression.
The bureau of Hezb-e Islami in EU expresses strong sympathy with the family,
friends as well as with Asia Times Online.We hope that the government of
Pakistan along with the international community exceeds their efforts to bring
the culprits to the justice. Justice for Shahzad and other vocal journalists
who have lost their lives performing their sacred duties will only be achieved
if the culprits are brought to justice.
Qaribur Rahman Saeed
Chief of HIAs Peace and Political Affairs Commission in EU.
The murder of Saleem Shahzad is a terrible loss: for his family, for
journalism, and for Pakistan. His courage, tenacity, and objectivity were a
true inspiration. Only if justice is done in this awful case will we have truly
honored his life and his achievements.
Saleem Shahzad was among the finest of journalists. I'm sure I join legions of
his readers in enormous gratitude for the light he shed and the clarity of his
analysis. His murder, seemingly at the hands of the corrupt Pakistani state, is
a terrible outrage. If there is any way readers of Asia Times can support his
family and honor his memory, I trust you will let us know.
The death of Saleem is tragic. He had become a good friend of mine as he was
yours over a long period of time. Shocking! He wrote no more in his last
article on Asia Times than a number of writers wrote in the local papers: that
the Mehran attack was an ''inside job''.
Apart from our personal loss, Saleem was an investigative journalist of high
caliber and we will all miss reading him.
Zahid U Kramet
One feels so helpless to see a fellow journalist meeting this kind of a violent
end. In our part of the world, the Asia Times stories from Pakistan often found
their way into the mainstream media, thanks to Syed Saleem Shahzad's fearless
reporting. His stories were always keenly followed... Please accept my deep
condolences, my thoughts go out to his young family. We, journalists here from
the SAARC countries, are trying to do something to bring pressure on the
authorities there to take tangible action. But then whatever you do, you don't
get a journalist like him everyday...
I wish to express my deep sorrow at the death of Saleem Shahzad and offer my
condolences and sympathies to his widow, two children and his entire family. It
is indeed a very sad news and a blow to free speech, expression and truth. He
was a brave and honest journalist who never shunned from finding the facts and
exposing them to the public.
I have been a an admirer of his plain, simple and honest way of writing for
years and on many occasions agreed and also disagreed with him on many issues,
but with great respect for his point of view. He will be tremendously missed
not only on Asia Times Online, but also in the Pakistani media.
May Allah bless his soul with Jannah-al-Firdaus and give his widow and children
courage and penitence to endure his profound loss and demise. Amen.
The killing of Syed Saleem Shahzad is very sad and tragic news. All sympathies
and feelings are with the deceased family and Asia Times Online. I personally
condemn this incident and all other similar incidents where the voice of truth
has been suppressed. I pray for the martyred journalist, May his soul rest in
Malik Ayub Khan Sumbal
I just came to know of the tragic news about Syed Saleem Shahzad. I join you in
sharing the grief. Shahzad was a colleague who made us all feel proud that we
were somehow associated with him as a family member.
Having lived in Pakistan, I have often wondered how he could take such immense
personal risks. It has been an extraordinary sense of dedication of the highest
M K Bhadrakumar
I am deeply sorry to hear about the murder of Saleem Shahzad. I would like to
say that his murderers will be brought to justice, but in pitiful Pakistan that
seems to never be the case. Saleem was an intensely courageous journalist whose
body of work exposed the immense complexity of that deeply troubled country.
His stories will be sorely missed and Pakistan is even worse off without such a
bold risk-taker traversing its militant intellectual badlands.
Derek Henry Flood
I would also like to express my sympathies after hearing of the death of your
bureau chief in Pakistan. Terrible, terrible news. I sincerely hope you can
continue to provide some of the most courageous reporting in the world.
I just wanted to express my condolences and regret at the death of Syed Saleem
Shahzad. It's very sad news indeed. He was a damn fine journalist, fearless in
his reporting and very approachable as a person. I've followed his work at Asia
Times for years - it was insightful and penetrating, and he beat just about
every major news organization in the depth and detail of his coverage.
In fact, I put his name forward to a publisher in London who was planning an
Asian paper and said that if he wanted the paper to stand out then Saleem must
be one of the contributors. It's truly sad and disturbing.
I am writing from the English Centre of PEN, the worldwide association of
writers, to express our sincere dismay and condolences at the death of Syed
Saleem Shahzad. We, together with Syed’s publisher Pluto Press, will be
delivering a letter to the Pakistan Embassy here in London, demanding a full
investigation and justice for Saleem.
Robert Sharp, English PEN
Please accept my heartiest condolences over the sad demise of Mr Shahzad, your
M Abeer Khan
I was sincerely saddened to hear the news about longtime Asia Times Online
contributor Syed Saleem Shahzad.
I am furious and horrified to learn of the murder of Saleem.
David P Goldman
Saleem's death is a huge, huge loss to all of us. A really nice chap, honest,
brave and hardworking. I will miss reading his insights into Pakistan. My
deepest condolences to his family.
I'm really saddened to have learned about Saleem's murder. He was a brave man,
and a real reporter. It was easy to admire him and I am sorry for your loss.
I am writing because I was saddened to hear that one of your respected
journalists was murdered in Pakistan. Please know that the staff of Asia Times,
the late Saleem Shahzad and his grieving family are in my prayers.
Gary Glennell Toms
Please accept my condolences on your loss by this terrible murder. This is
horrifying and appalling.
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