Cops squabble over jurisdiction in Shahzad probe

The scribe was abducted in Islamabad and body was found in Mandi Bahauddin.

Islamabad: Police in Islamabad are squabbling with their counterparts in Punjab province where journalist Syed Saleem Shahzad`s body was found over who will probe his kidnapping and murder, a media report said on Thursday.

Syed Saleem Shahzad was kidnapped in Islamabad on Sunday and his body was found in Mandi Bahauddin in Punjab province on Tuesday.

The daily Dawn reported that the police here were trying to shift the onus of inquiry to the police force in Mandi Bahauddin. They are citing a court judgment that says investigation into a "heinous crime" (murder) must be preferred over a "minor crime" (kidnapping).

An official here recalled a Peshawar High Court judgment in a case about the kidnapping of a man in Peshawar and his murder in Islamabad.

Shahzad, who wrote extensively on Islamist groups, went missing on Sunday. The 40-year-old correspondent of Hong Kong-based Asia Times Online was widely believed to have been seized by intelligence officials for alleging that terrorists attacked a major naval base in Karachi on May 22 after the Navy refused to free sailors held for suspected militant links.

The police in Islamabad were reluctant to investigate the case as all evidence was in custody of Mandi Bahauddin police.

They argued that there was no evidence and witness to the journalist`s kidnapping here.

However, the police in Mandi Bahauddin were keen to give all evidence to Islamabad police when they visited the city for identification of the body.

But the Islamabad police refused to take it.

"Tracing the killer(s) behind the murder of the journalist is a very difficult task and investigation will take a long time to complete," an official was quoted as saying.