Death of a Journalist. Warning to a Nation.
The message to Saleem Shahzad was cold and bloody and brutal. The message to Pakistanis – and not just journalists, but all who may dare to ‘speak up’ – was equally cold and bloody and brutal. Of course, nothing can compare to the fatal, ultimate and irreversible wounds that were inflicted on Saleem Shahzad. But the chill that ran down the spine of all Pakistanis was also real. Let us not doubt for a moment that this was a calculated act. That this chill is exactly what his murderers wanted to deliver.
Murder, as an article in Dawn pointed out, is “the severest form of censorship” on he who is murdered. But it is also the most chilling of messaging for all others. What was delivered to Pakistanis today was not just the dead body of a journalist, but the proverbial “horse’s head” (as in The Godfather) – a promise to impose censorship “by all means necessary.”