Scribe case: Pak commission laments lack of help
Last Updated: Sunday, July 10, 2011, 18:54
Islamabad: The head of a Pakistani commission investigating the killing of journalist Syed Saleem Shahzad has expressed concern at the lack of cooperation from reporters and the public, saying this could slow down the probe.

Justice Saqib Nisar of the Supreme Court, who heads the commission set up to investigate the kidnapping and murder of Shahzad, said that no one had come forward to help the panel despite requests made through media advertisements.

The commission had only received a call from someone who suggested it should approach a "Pir Baba" at Chakwal in Punjab who would lead it to the murderer and a compact disc from a person in Quetta, Nisar said while presiding over the second meeting of the panel on Saturday.

Information Secretary Taimur Azmat, who is also the secretary of the commission, told reporters after the meeting that authorities had provided the panel Shahzad’s mobile phone records.

The Federal Investigation Agency’s cyber wing had been asked to access the slain journalist's email records, he said.

The National Highway Authority was directed to obtain toll plaza records and footage from CCTV cameras on the highway between Islamabad and Mandi Bahauddin, where Shahzad's body was found.

The director of the FIA's cyber crime wing, Shahid Nadeem Baloch, told the commission he was unable to go through Shahzad’s laptop.

The journalist's family said his laptop was usually in his car.

Shahzad was abducted while driving from his house to a TV station in Islamabad on May 29, two days after he alleged in an article that Al Qaeda had infiltrated the Pakistan Navy.

His body, bearing marks of torture, was found the next day in a canal in Punjab province.

Journalists' associations and rights groups alleged intelligence agencies were responsible for the killing, a charge denied by the Inter-Services Intelligence.

Shahzad had also told colleagues about receiving veiled threats from the ISI.

Several prominent journalists, including Najam Sethi, Imtiaz Alam, Zahid Hussain, Umar Cheema, Matiullah Jan, Absar Alam and Hamid Mir, appeared before the commission yesterday.

The commission asked the journalists to submit written statements at the next meeting to be held on July 18.

One journalist who appeared before the panel reportedly submitted a written statement in which he detailed a roundtable discussion held in the capital that was attended by Shahzad.

During the discussion, Shahzad referred to the alleged close liaison between intelligence agencies and the military spokesman's office to identify "trouble-making journalists".

The journalists asked the commission to expand its scope to include a broader examination of the harassment of reporters.


First Published: Sunday, July 10, 2011, 18:54

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