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Pakistani leadership under attack over journalist killing
Islamabad, Jun 1 (IANS):
Published on 1 Jun. 2011 10:39 PM IST
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A former Pakistani diplomat has moaned the lack of leadership in Pakistan while paying tributes to slain journalist Saleem Shahzad.
“The ruling elite has become almost irrelevant to the country’s crying need for wise and enlightened leadership to arrest the inexorable slide into anarchy,” Karamatullah K. Ghori wrote for Asia Times Online, where Shahzad’s writings on Islamists and Pakistan enjoyed wide readership.
“Their sole concern is with remaining in power by any means, even if it means subcontracting Pakistan to a US agenda,” Ghori added.
The former Pakistani ambassador to several countries, including China, Turkey and Iraq, also hit out at Pakistan’s military.
“The military leadership has failed to check the spread of the festering cancer of fundamentalism and radicalism in its ranks - a damning legacy of General Zia ul-Haq and General Pervez Musharraf...
“Saleem’s last contribution to Asia Times Online focused intently on this ‘black hole’ of Pakistan. And he paid for it with his life.”
Shahzad, 40, disappeared on his way to a television interview in Islamabad Sunday evening. On Tuesday, police found his body about 150 km from the capital.
There were indications he had been tortured. He is survived by his wife Anita and two sons aged 14 and seven, and a daughter aged 12. “Saleem isn’t the first, nor will be the last, Pakistani or foreign journalist whose life flame has been put out by the merchants of death who have apparently been roaming the land and plying their trade with virtual impunity,” Ghori said.
He said the problem with Pakistan’s military brass was it “remains hopelessly mired in its infatuation with parity with India in military hardware”.
And so, he said, “it must stay on the right side of US to keep its arsenal well stocked.
“Its latest decision to sign on to Washington’s demand for military action in North Waziristan - a central piece of (Hillary) Clinton’s visit to Islamabad May 27 - is evidence of the US agenda in the region ruling the roost in Islamabad.
“A blitz in North Waziristan will inevitably lead to a more virulent terrorist backlash in the rest of the country and more spilling of innocent blood like Saleem’s.”
US condemns
Shahzad murder
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has denounced the abduction and murder of Pakistani journalist Saleem Shahzad.
“The US strongly condemns the abduction and killing of reporter Saleem Shahzad,” Asia Times Online, for which the dead journalist worked, quoted her as saying.
“His work reporting on terrorism and intelligence issues in Pakistan brought to light the troubles extremism poses to Pakistan’s stability,” she said.
Shahzad, who wrote extensively on radical Islamic groups in Pakistan, was abducted from Islamabad Sunday, apparently by intelligence operatives. His tortured body was found in Punjab province Tuesday.

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