Islamabad: Pakistani investigative reporter Syed Saleem Shahzad’s murder could be a case of personal enmity, Interior Minister Rehman Malik has said.
Shahzad, one of Pakistan’s best investigative journalists and bureau chief of Asia Times Online, went missing on May 29 from Islamabad while on his way to a local television channel to participate in a talk show. His body- with his face severely beaten- was found yesterday in a canal in Mandi Bahauddin area of the Punjab province.
Malik visited Shehzad’s residence to condole with the family and condemned his murder.
Later, while talking to the media, Pakistan’s Interior Minister said that arrangements have been made to send Shehzad’s body to Karachi.
Malik said that Shehzad might have been murdered over personal enmity, Geo News reports.
He said that the slain journalist’s family is not satisfied with the autopsy report and has demanded to conduct a second autopsy.
Though another autopsy is not possible, he said that a medical board could be formed to carry out investigations.
Malik admitted that journalists in Pakistan are also battling against negative forces like the army.
In order to ensure safety of their lives, orders have been passed to allow journalists to carry small arms with them for self-protection, he added.
Journalists and human rights activists have said they believed that Shahzad’s killing was payback not from militants, but from Pakistan’s fearsome spy agencies, The Washington Post reports.
Shahzad, who had previously been questioned by the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) agency, had warned the authorities might act against him and had even revealed a previous threat, according to another report.
The journalist’s killing has also renewed attention on the alleged crossover between militants and Pakistan’s security forces, some of which he outlined in his recent article for the Hong Kong-based Asia Times Online, for which he was the Pakistan bureau chief.
According to Shahzad’s reporting, last week’s attack on a Karachi naval base was a response to the Pakistani Navy’s detection of al Qaeda cells within its ranks, and it followed failed discussions between the navy and al Qaeda about the release of naval officers arrested on suspicions of links to the terrorist group.