Pakistan journalists want Shahzad probe panel by June 10


Islamabad : Journalists in Pakistan have set a June 10 deadline for the government to set up a judicial commission to probe the abduction and murder of Syed Saleem Shahzad, a media report said.

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The decision was taken at a meeting here between representatives of three major media organisations – the Pakistan Federation Unions of Journalists (PFUJ), Rawalpindi-Islamabad Union of Journalists (RIUJ). and the National Press Club here Thursday.

PFUJ president Pervaiz Shaukat chaired it.

Shahzad was kidnapped in Islamabad Sunday and his body bearing torture marks was found in a canal in Punjab province Tuesday. The killing has caused widespread revulsion in Pakistan.

Shahzad is widely believed to have been seized by intelligence officials for alleging that terrorists attacked a key naval base in Karachi May 22 after the navy refused to free sailors held for suspected militant links.

The daily Dawn reported that the journalists expressed lack of trust in the police and other law enforcing agencies and they decided to approach the government for establishment of an inquiry commission headed by a Supreme Court judge.

The journalists strongly criticised the government and the security agencies for their inefficiency.

They said that the Shahzad’s killing was the worst example of barbarism.

“We have decided to write letters to the president, the prime minister and the COAS (chief of army staff) to look into the affairs and check the elements responsible for harassing the journalists,” Pervaiz Shaukat was quoted as saying.

He said that the government had been given a June 10 deadline to form the inquiry commission, “otherwise we will launch country-wide protests and in this regard, a massive demonstration would be held in front of the Parliament House”.

He added if the government did not form the inquiry commission by June 10, the journalists would begin nationwide protest that would start from here June 15.

Those present at the meeting noted that over 75 journalists had been killed in the last couple of years, the media report said.

“Either the killings remain a mystery or a faceless body like Taliban acknowledges the responsibility for the gruesome act,” RIUJ president Tahir Rathore was quoted as saying.

The journalists said Shahzad’s alleged kidnapping, murder and the recovery of his body from a remote area needs to be thoroughly investigated.