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Update: Pakistani Journalist Found Dead; He Wrote Of Ties To Terrorism

Update at 10:22 a.m. ET. Family Says Shahzad's Body Has Been Found.

From Islamabad, The Associated Press writes that:

"Police say family members have identified a body found in a canal as that of a missing Pakistani journalist. Syed Saleem Shahzad was reported missing Sunday in the capital, Islamabad."

Update at noon ET: Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep, who is on assignment in Pakistan, notes that Shahzad wrote last week that there are al-Qaida sympathizers inside the ranks of the Pakistani Navy. That was, Steve tells the NPR Newscast desk, a story that compounded the Navy's embarrassment over an al-Qaida attack on one of its air stations.

Update at 1:40 p.m. ET: Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep, who is in Islamabad, just told our Newscast Desk that he spoke with Shahzad's brother-in-law, who confirmed the journalist's death.

Our original post:

There are conflicting reports at this hour about the fate of Syed Saleem Shahzad, Pakistan bureau chief for Asia Times Online, who has been missing since Sunday evening.

Pakistan's Daily Times says that Human Rights Watch has been told by "credible sources" that Shahzad "is in custody of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI)" — Pakistan's intelligence agency.

Asia Times Online writes that "members of Shahzad's family told Tony Allison, the editor of Asia Times Online, that several of Shahzad's associates believed him to be in ISI custody, that he was 'safe and would be released after 48 hours' — on Tuesday evening."

But Pakistan's The Dawn says a body has been found that may be that of Shahzad.

As , Shahzad "wrote what is known: 'Islamists may have infiltrated into the country's security agencies.' "

Asia Times adds that "Shahzad had on several occasions been warned by officials of the ISI over articles they deemed to be detrimental to Pakistan's national interests or image."

As recently as last week, Shahzad wrote that:

"After the September 11, 2001, attacks on the US, Pakistan's top brass took a policy turn and joined in the US's "war on terror", but a large chunk of officers took retirement and with serving colleagues they helped the Taliban. This changed the dynamics of the Afghan war theater (see 'Military brains plot Pakistan's downfall' Asia Times Online, September 26, 2007).

"This collection of former and serving officers was responsible for a number of attacks on the military, including on military headquarters in 2009 and against ex-president General Pervez Musharraf.

"Now, this nexus could become active again to revive regional operations, in addition to a possible mutiny against the top military brass."

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.