Islamabad, Pakistan (TFC) – Last week, in an official statement from media-giant Reuters, it was reported that 34-year-old Maria Golovnina was found dead in her office in Pakistan. Golovnina was stationed as the Bureau Chief of Afghanistan and Pakistan at the time of her death.
Reuters posted a brief statement on Twitter saying, “Maria fell unconscious in the Islamabad bureau. An ambulance arrived quickly and she was rushed to Kulsum International Hospital, but medical teams were unable to save her.”
However, Pakistani Police reported that Maria’s colleagues were “alarmed at her long disappearance from her seat” and went to look for her. She was then found lying in a pool of vomit in the F-8 sector of the office building.
State-run Radio Pakistan reported her body was found in her home. Which is it? Her home or office?
Police did not become aware of Maria’s death until her body was taken by her colleagues to the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS). They were bringing the body to PIMS to be put in the hospital’s mortuary, not to provide life-saving medical assistance.
A PIMS doctor told news outlet Dawn, “PIMS Medical Legal Officer Dr. Nasreen Butt was called immediately after the body arrived and told that she has to do a postmortem.”
Police then arrived and a struggle over what would happen to the body began.
“A representative of the Russian embassy and some colleagues of the journalist also arrived. They wanted to take the body away without postmortem but were told that it cannot be handed over without the permission of the district administration,” said the PIMS doctor in charge at the time.
Doctors and Maria’s colleagues then proceeded to wait for the Russian Embassy to receive permission to begin Maria’s autopsy. PIMS spokesperson Dr. Ayesha Esani told Dawn that hospital management were ready and waiting to perform the autopsy following consent from Maria’s parents.
“The body will remain in PIMS mortuary and will not be released unless permitted by the district administration,” said Dr. Esani.
A senior Pakistani Police Officer said, “Doctors who examined the body said it seemed a natural death. It could be, but it could also be food poisoning or some other poison. So autopsy should be done to establish the cause of her death.”
The autopsy has been completed as of Tuesday and all it has done is pose more questions.
Ligature marks were found on her neck and she is reported to have died from asphyxiation. The report was forwarded to Pakistani Police. PIMS spokesperson Waseem Khawaja said samples of Maria’s brain, heart and neck have been sent to a forensic laboratory for a complete report on the cause of death. The report will take up to a month to complete.
Maria’s colleagues, and Reuters’ official statement, say she was a junkyard dog of a journalist. She has spent time covering major events all over the globe. She spent most of 2009 covering the elections in Afghanistan. She spent time in Iraq and Libya. She covered the NATO bombings in Tripoli from the heart of the chaos. It was there she met her former Reuters colleague, Michael Georgy. They worked in close proximity to each other in Tripoli. Georgy was also the Deputy Bureau Chief of Pakistan during Maria Golovnina’s tenure in the same position. For someone with such a close relationship with Maria, he has remained curiously silent as to the cause of her death.
More importantly, why is Reuters’ not commenting on the conflicting reports? If Maria was such a beloved asset, then how can they possibly not have a response to the mounting evidence that one of their own died from something other than natural causes? They themselves did not even report the circumstances of her death correctly.
Maria’s last post on Twitter reads, “Update from the border: #Afghans ordered out of #Pakistan as ‘diversion’ in militant fight
Maria spent much of her time covering the Durand Line. This is the disputed border between Pakistan and Afghanistan. Currently, the US Department of Defense (DOD) does not recognize Afghanistan’s proposed version of the border. The history of the Durand Line is long, complex, and confusing.
The Institute for Defense Studies and Analyses (IDSA) reported last May that the peace talks between representatives of the Radical Islamists (RI) and the Tehriq-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) were nothing but a mirage leading to nowhere:
“On their part, the [TTP] regime’s interlocutors are not seen to be advancing any persuasive argument to the RI to stop their violent campaign and seem more willing to find a ‘fig-leaf’ formula which would alllow them to acquiesce and compromise with the RI’s pro-shariat [Islamic Law] stance, even while paying some lip-service to the Constitution of Pakistan and the rule of law in the country. Notwithstanding the occasional reports in the media, apparently planted, of ‘progress being made’ and ‘agreement on ceasefire having been nearly sealed,’ whatever concrete details have emerged from the talks that are taking place at various undisclosed locations in North Wazirstan and Akhora Khattak in Khyber-Paktoonkhwa is that the TTP has not relented on its long-standing demands for introduction of shariat, withdrawal of Army from areas they control and de-facto recognition of this fact, a staunch anti-US line and not surrendering their arms or stopping their jihad against Pakistan Army.”
The Taliban Jihadists reside on the Afghan side of the Durand Line. The Pakistani Army dug miles and miles of trenches on the Pakistani side of the Line in a defensive move against the armed Jihadist mobs that charge across the line on a near-daily basis. Leaders of the region also have to take into consideration the non-Muslim Kalash tribes that inhabit the Chitral area. These tribes have been warned to convert to Islam or face death along with the Shias and Barelvis and smaller sects such as Ismailis. The IDSA says terror attacks have continued, untempered, against all sides whether military, civil, or innocent.
In P.K. Upadhyay’s article, he mentions Maria’s steadfast coverage of this violent and convoluted region of Pakistan-Afghanistan. He recalls her report of cross-border Taliban alliances being formed and strengthened. She says mutual assistance in the supply line of armaments across the border was increasing rapidly. Maria and P.K. were in agreement that the “ceasefire” was just a smokescreen designed to save manpower and firepower for bigger ventures in the future.
I recently reported a huge defense contract that was signed between US defense conglomerate Oshkosh and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia. The UAE shares a border with the southern tip of Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia borders the southwestern part of Iraq. ISIS is surrounded by defense armament supply lines on all sides. Was Maria on the verge of making a discovery of something that those who have financial stakes in the ongoing genocide would rather not be exposed?
Is it a coincidence that in the same week as Maria’s murder, Boris Nemtsov, a prominent Russian insider, heavily sponsored by the West, was gunned down in the streets?
As of now, all I am sure about is that the whole story of Maria Golovnina’s death is yet to be told. The mainstream media is certainly not paying enough attention to this situation and whatever coverage exists is most likely propagandized to begin with. Rest assured, The Fifth Column will continue to watch this story with a focused, skeptical set of eyes.