Pakistan must explain ISI’s role in murder

New York, July 5, 2011–Pakistan’s president must clarify the role of Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence Directorate following U.S. allegations that the agency ordered the killing of journalist Saleem Shahzad, as reported in The New York Times today, said the Committee to Protect Journalists.

“The U.S. allegations reported today reflect a suspicion long assumed true by many journalists in Pakistan, where some attacks on the press are clear attempts by intelligence agencies to intimidate probing reporters,” said CPJ Deputy Director Rob Mahoney. “President Zardari must ensure that Pakistan’s security forces provide credible answers to these allegations. Otherwise, his pledge to reverse the country’s rising record of impunity will remain unfulfilled.”

Shahzad’s death is the third this year in which a journalist was clearly killed because of his work. CPJ counts 15 cases of journalists apparently targeted for their journalism in Pakistan since the 2002 killing of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl. None of their killers have been brought to justice.