February 23, 2024

Press Freedom


Pakistan July 6, 2011

H.E. Asif Al Zadari
Office of the President
Constitution Avenue
Islamic Republic of Pakistan
Fax: ( 920.3938

Your Excellency:

Today’s disclosure by The New York Times that American officials have reliable intelligence that Pakistani officials ordered the brutal murder of Saleem Shahzad is deeply troubling.  With this news, we have moved from circumstantial and logical inference to an assertion of evidence (not yet, to be sure, disclosed) that the Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence actually killed a critical journalist to keep him silent and intimidate his colleagues.

According to the Times, two senior officials of the Obama Administration have confirmed that Shahzad’s death “was a deliberate, targeted killing that was most likely meant to send shock waves through Pakistan’s journalist community and civil society.”  As you know, Shahzad, bureau chief of the Asian Times Online, had infuriated military officials in Pakistan by documenting the Navy’s incompetence, first in preventing and then, in dealing with an attack by Al Qaeda militants on its base in Karachi on May 22.

Your Excellency, if these accusations are substantiated, they will prove that Pakistan’s claims to respect basic human rights and the rule of law are a hollow sham.  They will also threaten your government’s relations with the United States and all democratic nations.  We urge you to act quickly to get to the bottom of this sorry business and to open every scrap of evidence to public scrutiny.  If the facts are as charged, you can restore Pakistan’s good name only by prompt punishment of the officials involved and by sweeping reforms to ensure that human rights and the rule of law — especially as it affects the right of our colleagues in Pakistan to do their jobs — have actual meaning.

Respectfully yours,
Larry Martz                                                                                       
Kevin McDermott
Freedom of the Press Committee


H E. Hussain Haqqani       
Ambassador of Pakistan to the U.S.A.
Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan             
3517 International Court, NW       
Washington, DC 20008     

Ambassador Abdullah Hussain Haroon
Permanent Representative
Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan to the United Nations
8 East 65th Street
New York, NY  10021
Fax: (212) 744.7348

H.E. Cameron Munter
U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan
Embassy of the United States of America
Diplomatic Enclave, Ramna 5
Fax: (011.92.51) 227.6427

Nurul Kabir
New Age
Holiday Building
30, Tejgaon Industrial Area
Fax: (011.880.2) 811.2247

Mr. Abbas Nasir
Dawn TV
Haroon House, Dr. Ziauddin Ahmed Road
Karachi 74200
Fax: (011.92.21) 569.3995

Rana Qaisar
Islamabad Resident Editor
Daily Times
Aquhbar Market, Moti Plaza
Murree Road

M.A. Zubari
Business Recorder
Recorder House
531 Business Recorder Road
Karachi 74550

Pakistan Press Foundation

Maria Otero
Under Secretary of State for Democracy
and Global Affairs
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street, N.W.
Washington, DC  20520