ASIA/PAKISTAN - Journalist murdered: activists and religious minorities take to the streets to "defend the truth" and to say "no" to impunity

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Lahore (Fides Service) - Journalists, human rights activists, civil society organizations, religious communities take to the streets today to demonstrate outside the headquarters of the press associations in major cities of Pakistan (Lahore, Islamabad, Karachi), to " protest against impunity and protect the right to tell the truth, "after the murder of Pakistani journalist Syed Saleem Shazad. Shahzad, Asia Times Online reporter, was kidnapped two days ago and killed yesterday. In his articles he denounced ties between the army, the secret services (ISI) and the Islamic fundamentalist networks like Al Qaeda or Taliban terrorist groups.
At today's demonstrations priests, religious and faithful are also involved, committed to defending democracy and legality in the country. "We cannot keep silent about the truth . We will still continue our mission, " says Fr. John Shakir Nadeem to Fides, Director of "Radio Veritas" in Urdu language and Secretary of the Commission for Social Communications in the Episcopal Conference of Pakistan. "Shahzad also worked for several Pakistani radios. His work was appreciated, he was a clean and honest person, who had the courage to speak the truth. He was killed for having denounced hidden realities. His death is a clear message that reaches all media operators and human rights activists in Pakistan. And he is not the only one: many people like him have been killed. We, too, of Radio Veritas, the radio of the truth, will join in the campaign in defense of truth. "
Fr. Nadeem Shahzad is similar to the murder of Shahbaz Bhatti: "The problem is that all these extrajudicial killings remain unpunished. Even the murder of Minister Bhatti does not have a guilty person and no one talks about it. This is a serious disease of democracy in Pakistan, which otherwise remains an empty word. "
For religious minorities, he concludes, "it is a crucial issue, since it affects the fundamental rights of every person. We will continue to do our part and to proclaim the Truth. " (PA) (Agenzia Fides 06/01/2011)