A Pakistani journalist was found murdered this week. I wanted to highlight that tragedy here because his beat involved a lot of religion coverage. Here’s how the San Francisco Chronicle explained it:
The tortured corpse of a prominent Pakistani journalist, who had told friends he feared that the country’s military intelligence agency would kill him, was found Tuesday, two days after he disappeared.
With unparalleled sources among Islamic extremists, including al Qaeda, Syed Saleem Shahzad, 40, often produced stories that embarrassed Pakistan’s military and its Inter-Services Intelligence spy agency, known as the ISI. But he also could have angered a faction of the increasingly fractured Islamist movement in a country where journalists are often targeted by both the government and extremists.
Shahzad’s most recent story was supposed to be a two-parter that detailed al Qaeda’s infiltration of the Pakistani navy. It also alleged a recent attack on a Karachi naval base was done by al Qaeda in retaliation for the navy’s suspected detention of Islamic terrorist sympathizers. This Pakistani independent weekly published a piece reflecting on how Shahzad’s death was the same day as the late Governor Salmaan Taseer’s birthday. He was killed by Islamic terrorists for opposing Pakistan’s blasphemy law. This is a good reminder, too, of how many Muslims are killed in the battle against Islamic terrorism.
I don’t have any criticism of the coverage of his murder, which was good. I was even heartened by how many American media outlets eulogized Shahzad and pointed out his bravery in covering Islamic terrorism.
I do think it’s worth us reflecting on this loss of life and the bravery of some journalists as they simply work to report news and investigate corruption. In certain conflicts, such as what Pakistan is going through right now, the stakes are so much higher than many American journalists can comprehend. The behavior of men such as Shahzad serves as inspiration around the world.