Najam Sethi in Pakistan's Friday Times:
These are difficult times for professional journalists in Pakistan. Eleven were killed last year in the line of duty. They were either caught in the crossfire of ethnic or extremist violence or targeted and eliminated by state and non-state groups for their political views.
Saleem Shehzad, for example, was abducted, tortured and killed last year and a commission of inquiry is still floundering in murky waters. He had exposed the infiltration of the armed forces by elements affiliated with Al-Qaeda or the Taliban. Several journalists from Balochistan have been killed by non-state vigilantes sponsored by state agencies, others have fled to Europe or USA because they had sympathies with the nationalist cause in the province. Some from Karachi have taken refuge abroad because they were threatened by ethnic or sectarian groups or parties.
Now an insidious campaign is afoot to target senior journalists who question the wisdom of the security establishment on a host of thorny issues. They are being labeled as “American-CIA agents”. This is an incitement to violence against them in the highly charged anti-American environment in Pakistan today. Consider.
If you say the military's notion of “strategic depth” in Afghanistan is misplaced, outdated or counter-productive, you are a CIA agent.
If you say the military was either complicit or incompetent in the OBL-Abbottabad case, you are a CIA agent.
If you say that the civilians should have control over the military as stipulated in the constitution, you are a CIA agent.