Why is he not alive?


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.

To 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.”


What 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).

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