Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Saleem Shahzad's Murder and PNS Mahran Attack

Saleem Shahzad Murder

The dead body of Syed Saleem Shahzad, the Pakistan Bureau Chief of Asia Times Online, who disappeared on May 29, 2011, from the F-6/2 area of Islamabad, has been recovered from Sarai Alamgir. He was on his way to the studios of Dunya News channel to particiate in a program to discuss his latest report on the attacks on PNS Mehran when the producer made the last contact with him. Before abduction Shahzad had published an article on Asia Times Online regarding the attack of Al-Qaeda on PNS Mahran and links between Al-Qaeda and Naval soldiers. It is strongly believed that he was under threat from intelligence agencies for quite sometime as he wrote extensively about the Al-Qaeda, Taliban and their supporters in Pakistan.

Saleem Shahzad had strong interaction with Al-Qaeda and Pakistan Military; he published some exclusive stories about Taliban movement and Al-Qaeda. In October 2010 he was (according to him) investigated by ISI for publishing a story about the release of a Taliban leader by Pakistan to facilitate talks between Taliban and security forces. He published his much awaited book ‘Inside al Qaeda and the Taliban: Beyond Bin Laden and 9/11’ in May, 2011.

The major cause of his murder is told to be the story published in Asia Times Online Al-Qaeda had warned of Pakistan Strike’, in which he claimed that Al-Qaeda carried out the attacks on PNS Mehran in Karachi after negotiations had failed between the navy and Al-Qaeda regarding the release of naval officials held by navy intelligence for their links with the terrorist organization. He wrote that some officials of junior cadre of Navy had been strong supporters of Al-Qaeda and they have been planning to attack US officials and experts working at base. They were caught and held by Navy for interrogations to find out to what extent teh militancy had crept into the naval ranks. The attacks on Naval buses earlier were warning calls by Al-Qaeda to release the linked officials.

The details of Attack on Mahran base provided so far confirm the report released by Shahzad, as it is not believable that only 6 terrorists engaged whole Navy, Army Commandoes and Rangers for 17 long hours killing 13 soldiers without the helping hands from inside. Who killed Saleem Shahzad will remain a mystery for ever as in a country where the murderers of its first PM had never been exposed, what is the value of a journalist, but the courage and grit he showed to expose the corruption within the military sytem will be remebered. God bless his soul the eternal peace and his family with the courage and determination to bear this great loss, ameen.

PNS Mahran Attack

Pakistan is under threat from all corners of the state; extremism and terrorism has paralyzed our nation, in these testing times Pakistani Military is the only hope left for most Pakistanis. But in a month the military has suffered the worst ever damage, first presence of OBL in Pakistan for more than 5 years undermined the efficiency of our intelligence agencies. Afterwards operation by US forces inside Pakistan proved incompetence of our army, now Mahran base attack has exposed the security and professional capability of our Air Force and Navy. Taliban and Al-Qaeda will definitely have links with military in Pakistan, as some former services chiefs still support them openly. Soldiers from lower ranks have strong affection with Islam, and it is obvious that they will not be happy for fighting against their own men for the sake of USA. We can expect some deep rooted dissent among the military officials, it needs to be pointed out and corrected otherwise we will not be able to get out of this mess.

In the last I would like to pay tribute to the soldiers killed in the Mahran Base attack for their sacrifice. I would also like to share a message sent by one of my college friends who is now a soldier at Pakistan navy. He told me that his colleagues in navy were very disappointed with the role of media in making a single person, Yasir Abbas hero out of 13 personnel martyred in the attack. I explained him the reasons why media was running such campaign, I fear I would not be able to share it here. Personally I am surprised to hear the News that Prime Minister has advised president to confer Nishan e Haider on Yasir Abbas for fighting bravely with the terrorists. What does it mean that the others who were killed did not fight bravely, or they were supporting the terrorists? His mother told a news reporter that he was on phone when blast happened so he disconnected the call. It clearly shows that he was even not aware of the attack until he heard the blast of terrorist attack on a nearby naval plane.

The martyrs should be respected and saluted but conferring the highest military medal to a soldier who was killed in their own den in such shameful security negligence would not only undermine the prestige of the award but would also be mockery of our proud military traditions. Common Pakistanis have always loved, supported and faced poverty for our military, but now the time has changed we can not worship them like the sacred cows if they would not be loyal and faithful to the poor nation. It is a need of the time to make a thorough investigation to cleanse our military from the people who are not loyal to our national interests.

Note: I was away for sometime therefore i was not able to update the series who ruined the Quiad's dream, i hope it will be completed soon.

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