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.

PTI



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

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