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ISI ordered Shahzad’s killing: US officials
Islamabad, Jul 5 (IANS):
Published on 5 Jul. 2011 9:41 PM IST
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Pakistan’s powerful Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency had ordered the killing of Pakistani journalist Saleem Shahzad, a media report quoted US officials as saying.
New classified intelligence shows that Shahzad, who had written scathing reports about the infiltration of militants in the country’s military, was killed on the directive of the ISI in an effort to silence criticism, The New York Times reported quoting two senior officials.
The 40-year-old journalist had disappeared from Islamabad May 29.
The intelligence, which several administration officials said they believed was reliable and conclusive, showed that the actions of the ISI, as it is known, were “barbaric and unacceptable”, one of the officials said without disclosing further details.
The disclosure of the information could further aggravate the badly fractured relationship between the US and Pakistan, which worsened significantly with the American commando raid two months ago that killed Osama bin Laden in a Pakistan safehouse and deeply embarrassed the Pakistani government, military and intelligence hierarchy.
Obama administration officials will deliberate in the coming days how to present the information about Shahzad to the Pakistani government, an official said.
The disclosure of the intelligence was made in answer to questions about the possibility of its existence, and was reluctantly confirmed by the two officials, the Times said.
A third senior official said there was enough other intelligence and indicators immediately after Shahzad’s death for the Americans to conclude that the ISI had ordered him killed.
Shahzad’s body was retrieved from a canal 60 miles from Islamabad. The ISI publicly denied accusations in the Pakistani news media that it had been responsible, calling them “totally unfounded”.
The killing of Shahzad, a contributor to the Asia Times Online, aroused an immediate furore in the freewheeling news media in Pakistan.
Shahzad was the 37th journalist killed in Pakistan since the 9/11 attacks, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.
The Pakistani government, under pressure from the media, has set up a commission headed by a Supreme Court justice to probe Shahzad’s death. The findings are scheduled to be released early next month.

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