“But sometime before he disappeared on 29 May the order changed from kidnap and hurt to kill.”
The newly retired Joint Chiefs chair, Admiral Mullen, had also implicated the ISI in Shahzad’s murder, which they angrily denied, of course. Below is still more disturbing information about the circumstances of his disappearance and death. “Pakistan: AKI reporter Shahzad ‘was initially supposed to be beaten, not killed’,” from AdnKronos International, September 29:
New York, 29 Sept. (AKI) – Pakistani journalist Saleem Shahzad was probably killed by his country”s powerful Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) spy agency, but the initial order was to rough him up and give him a scare, according to a recent article in The New Yorker magazine.
But sometime before he disappeared on 29 May the order changed from kidnap and hurt to kill, Pulitzer-prize winning journalist Dexter Filkins wrote, citing an unnamed senior American official.
Shahzad disappeared in Islamabad on 29 May. His body was recovered two days later in the remote rural area of Mandi Bahauddin, 150 kilometres southwest of the capital Islamabad, bearing signs of torture.
Shahzad’s cell phone records were also completely purged back to three weeks before he disappeared. His murderers had very substantial means to cover their tracks.
Pakistan’s powerful military spy agency ISI has denied any involvement in Shahzad’s abduction and murder, which occurred just days after he published an article in Asia Times Online alleging links between Al-Qaeda and officials in the Pakistani navy. He was also a contributor to Adnkronos International (AKI).
That report can be found here.
Shahzad upset the ISI for his articles that shed light on alleged ties between the Pakistani spy agency and Al-Qaeda. One article said Al-Qaeda, not the Taliban, attacked the Mehran base as punishment for the military”s crackdown on Al-Qaeda affiliates within the Pakistani navy.
Shahzad also seemed to have contact with Al-Qaeda’s chief of global military operations Muhammad Ilyas Kashmiri, who he wrote was responsible for the Mehran attack. Previously he got a major scoop by reporting that Kashmiri was actually not killed in a 2009 drone attack, as reported by US intelligence sources. When Kashmiri actually was killed by a drone days after Shazad’s murder, it raised suspicion that Shahzad caved in under torture and revealed the militant’s location to his interrogators, the New Yorker said.
His trouble with the ISI started months earlier on 25 March after he published an article that Osama Bin Laden was on the move, he told Filkins nine days before he disappeared, during meeting at an Islamabad coffee shop near Shahzad’s home.
He got a phone call from an ISI officer, “summoning him to the agency”s headquarters, in Aabpara, a neighbourhood in eastern Islamabad. When Shahzad showed up, he was met by three ISI officers. The lead man, he said, was a naval officer, Rear Admiral Adnan Nazir, who serves as the head of the ISI”s media division,” the article said. They asked him to retract the story and Shazad refused.
“We want the world to believe that Osama is dead,” Nazir said, according to Shahzad’s account. “They were obviously trying to protect bin Laden,” he told Filkins.
A book written by Shahzad was to be published that explored the links between Al-Qaeda, the Taliban and the ISI and the Pakistani journalist thought this would further anger his country”s intelligence agency.
Shahzad was vocal about his opposition to terror. But while in university he was involved in the student wing of Jamaat-e-Islami, an Islamist party that recruited thousands of people for armed groups. He told journalists that some of his contacts were the same people he met in Jamaat-e-Islami.
Filkins said there are other reason’s the ISI may have wanted Shahzad dead. He may have been a suspected foreign agent.