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Syed Saleem Shahzad (November 3, 1970 – 30 May 2011) was a Pakistani investigative journalist who wrote widely for leading European and Asian media. He served as the Pakistan Bureau Chief of Asia Times Online (Hong Kong) and Italian news agency Adnkronos (AKI) and often contributed to The Real News Network. He was found dead in a canal in North-east Pakistan, showing signs of torture, two days after he was kidnapped. Human Rights Watch (HRW) accused the Pakistan intelligence services of being behind his killing, and US government officials later announced that they had “reliable and conclusive” intelligence that this was the case. Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) denied the accusations.
SYED SALEEM SHAHZAD: I have gathered from my recent trip to the tribal areas where I had some meetings with some rather high-profile militants, and they were pretty much obsessed that what they call khuruj in Pakistan. khuruj means revolt. And revolt means that it would be very much different from the previous strategy, like isolated suicide attacks. Revolt means that they would build a surge, a serious surge in Pakistan. (CLIP BEGINS)Awami National Party rally venueFebruary 9, 2008NASIR KHAN, EYEWITNESS (SUBTITLED TRANSLATION): I was near the stage as the recitation of the holy Quran started, suddenly the blast took place. I turned around and saw the people lying on the ground in pieces.(CLIP ENDS)Al-Qaeda today is very much restructured compared to two years back. Compared to 2006, it has very much restructured. They have formed committees like military committee, like the religious committee, like coordination committees. And they have established independent cells all over the Pakistani cities. And each cell doesn't know the whereabouts and the nature of other cells. And they have recruited local Pakistani boys, the former members of jihadi organizations. And they actually put in place a system of recruitment. They interview and they screen a particular person, and then they allow him to join their ranks. They have an agenda to carry out specific plans to create chaos in the country, so that, I mean, people will come out on the street, and they will take advantage from that situation and maybe realize their plans. (CLIP BEGINS)Charsadda, PakistanFebruary 10, 2008JAMRUD KHAN, COUSIN OF 3 BOMB VICTIMS (SUBTITLED TRANSLATION): If this type of situation continues we will not participate in the elections. Our whole community will boycott the polls because the government as well as the politicians fail to protect us. If we are not safe, what should we do in this type of elections? We are finding our brothers in pieces!(CLIP ENDS)What I have gathered, you can call them sort of Islamic anarchists. They have plans to destroy the refineries and the water and power projects so that people would agitate, and they would take advantage of that situation. Al-Qaeda is obsessed to disrupt the electoral process scheduled on February 18. And so other independent groups have been mentioning that they're also aiming to disrupt the election process. Osama bin Laden approved the plan after the Lal Masjid operation, Red Mosque operation, in Islamabad. He appointed emirs for khuruj in Pakistan. This is the most recent development. I see it as a serious threat.DISCLAIMER:Please note that TRNN transcripts are typed from a recording of the program; The Real News Network cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.
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