Saleem Shahzad murder: SC accepts Asma Jahangir's petition

Published: June 17, 2011

Justice Saquib Nasir refuses to head commission probing the murder of journalist Saleem Shehzad.

Justice Saquib Nasir refuses to head commission probing the murder of journalist Saleem Shehzad. Gilani signs summary for judicial inquiry; journalists call off sit-in. PHOTO: REUTERS/FILE Journalists protest outside parliament against the government’s failure to conduct an inquiry. The sticker reads “Let’s go to Parliament. The journalist brotherhood will stage a sit-in against the murder of 74 journalists, including Saleem Shahzad. PHOTO: EXPRESS
ISLAMABAD: 

The Supreme Court (SC) accepted Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) President Asma Jahangir’s petition, late on Thursday, for the formation of an independent commission to probe Saleem Shehzad’s murder.

A three-member bench, headed by Chief Justice(CJ) Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry will hear the petition on Friday.

This development follows a five-member bench judicial commission formed by the federal government earlier on Thursday, to be headed by  Justice Saquib Nisar.

However, Justice Saquib Nisar had refused to accept his charge citing improper conduct of the government.

Express 24/7 correspondent Faisal Shakeel reported that, Justice, who said that Saleem Shehzad was like a son to him, would have accepted the chair of the commission if the government would have taken the Chief Justice into confidence first.

Additionally, in the original notification which was made public early Thursday morning, Justice Saquib Nisar was named as being ‘associated’ with the commission rather than heading it.

The government on Thursday agreed to the terms and conditions of journalists for the probe into journalist Saleem Shahzad’s murder.

The announcement was made by Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Firdous Ashiq Awan this morning outside the Parliament House where journalists had organised a sit-in demanding the formation of judicial commission headed by a Supreme Court judge to probe the killing of Saleem Shahzad.

Awan said Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani was woken up from sleep to sign the summary for the judicial inquiry that will  take place to probe into the murder. She said Justice Saqib Nisar has been appointed head of the commission.

The government issued a notification for the formation of a five-member commission to investigate the murder of journalist Saleem Shehzad.

Other members of the commission include Federal Shariah Court Chief Justice Agha Rafique, the Islamabad DIG, Additional IG Investigation Punjab and Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists president. The commission will set up its office in the Information Ministry and will submit a report into the murder within six weeks.

The information minister said the government is committed to providing security to journalists.

Journalists have called an end to the sit-in after the announcement.

Updated from print edition (below)

Saleem Shahzad murder: This one will not go in vain

This one, it seems, will not just fade away.

Though dozens of their colleagues have been killed over the last decade, journalists seem to be adamant to ensure that the kidnapping and brutal beating to death of reporter Saleem Shahzad will finally be a case where truth will be unveiled.

Hundreds of journalists from across the country marched on the Constitution Avenue in the federal capital on Wednesday before staging a 24-hour sit-in next to the Parliament House, demanding that the government form a judicial commission headed by a Supreme Court judge to probe the killing of Saleem Shahzad.

The call for the protest was made by the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) after journalists rejected the government’s appointment of the chief justice of the Federal Shariat Court as the head of the commission probing the journalist’s death.

Journalists said that they would accept no less than a sitting Supreme Court judge to conduct a free and fair inquiry into the killing of the journalist, who was kidnapped from Islamabad on May 28 and murdered by yet ‘unknown’ elements. His beaten and tortured body was found from Mandi Bahauddin on May 30.

“We have no political agenda. We are here to demand a fair judicial inquiry into the murder,” said Pervaiz Shaukat, the president of the PFUJ.

A permanent camp was set up next to the Parliament House where various leaders of journalists’ representative bodies made speeches amid emotional sloganeering.

They were, from time to time, joined by parliamentarians belonging to almost all political parties, who expressed solidarity with the journalists’ demand for justice.

Farahnaz Isphahani, the media adviser to the president, said that she would convey to the prime minister and the president the journalists’ demand.

“The government had constituted a commission earlier as well which was not acceptable to them, therefore, we (parliamentarians) will meet both the President and the Prime Minister on Thursday,” she told The Express Tribune.

After offering prayers for Shehzad, she assured the journalists of her unyielding support. However, Isphahani found herself in a difficult situation when she tried to assert that the government was serious in handling the matter. She was interrupted by loud slogans by young journalists, who reiterated their demand for a sitting Supreme Court judge to head the commission.

Earlier, PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif visited the journalists’ camp and told journalists that he agreed with their demand for a sitting Supreme Court judge to conduct the judicial inquiry into the murder.

“The invisible elements active behind (all) such activities must be uncovered now,” said Sharif.

JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman said that the government needed to take immediate action on Shehzad’s killing.

A number of foreign journalists also participated in the sit-in, providing extensive foreign coverage.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 16th, 2011.

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Reader Comments (42)

  • Danish Kamal
    Jun 16, 2011 - 7:45AM

    We really wish the best of luck to all our journalists community. Military should understand this and should accept this demand. This is not 1911, this is 2011.Recommend

  • Analyst
    Jun 16, 2011 - 7:54AM

    General Kiya nahi and General Pata Nahi, will investigate the murder .Recommend

  • Jun 16, 2011 - 10:16AM

    Can anyone dig information on Asia Times Online?Recommend

  • Pakistani in US
    Jun 16, 2011 - 10:36AM

    My heart goes out to all our impartial journalist risking their lives for this country. It’s them not the army who should be our national heroes. The voice of reason and truth can’t be silenced anymore. We CONDEMN and PROTEST the murders of Saleem Shahzad and Salman Taseer. RIP.Recommend

  • Moazzam Salim
    Jun 16, 2011 - 10:37AM

    I wonder if Shahzad’s murder is somehow linked to the OBL’s demise? Recommend

  • Billoo Bhaya
    Jun 16, 2011 - 10:42AM

    You need Wyatt Earp and Doc Holiday to find the culprits not an SC judge. Recommend

  • arif ahmed
    Jun 16, 2011 - 11:21AM

    why all this hue and cry by our media over the murder of shazad and not a whisper of protest over the murder of wali babar in karachi.wali babar belonged to the biggest media group in pakistan but there were no dharnas,no talk shows when the interior minister of sindh had himself pointed out the party involved in wali’s murder.
    why all this mudslinging towards the army over shazad’s murder, but complete silence by our media towards the party responsible for wali khan babar’s murder??

    why these double standards by our media?Recommend

  • farhan khalid
    Jun 16, 2011 - 11:24AM

    This is an eye opener for all us Pakistanis and i was going through the Internet and i came across this informative magazine which talks about conflict and media, i suggest that everyone goes through the magazine. the link is : http://individualland.com/index.php?option=com_rokdownloads&view=file&Itemid=301Recommend

  • Rock
    Jun 16, 2011 - 12:08PM

    Just one question. Does pak army believe in pak constitution? If any Indian army general disrespect any sentence in Indian constitution, Indians will court-marshall him on our street. Indian people rule Indian army. That’s the big difference between India and Pakistan. Recommend

  • muhammad sharay
    Jun 16, 2011 - 12:15PM

    raise this much noise,do dharna against wali babar’s murder also.why is pakistan’s biggest media group so silent over the murder of one of their own reporters but so vocal against a journalist who was not even of their media group? why no talkshows over wali babar?Recommend

  • Shamsi Ajanee
    Jun 16, 2011 - 12:33PM

    Government did the right thing in accepting the demand of the journalist community to appoint a Judge of Supreme Court to conduct the inquiry.

    Govt was wise in quickly accepting the demand as civil society was rallying around this cause and it would have snow balled into a big movement.Recommend

  • Akthar
    Jun 16, 2011 - 12:40PM

    I hope the media takes some effort to make the Govt pay comensation to the widow of shahzad as well! Recommend

  • parvez
    Jun 16, 2011 - 1:54PM

    I loved the bit about the P.M being woken up from his sleep to sign the thing.Recommend

  • Aww!
    Jun 16, 2011 - 2:35PM

    100s die everyday in Karachi and Media dong have guts to name the murderers, one death of media personality – they go WILD!

    Hope you raise same voice FOR THE PEOPLE OF PAKISTAN – irrespective of caste,creed or political affiliation! !Recommend

  • Ali
    Jun 16, 2011 - 2:41PM

    Well done sahafi log, we are all behind you… its time the govt. and the army realise that they cannot intimidate those who bring us news of their kartoot!Recommend

  • Rock
    Jun 16, 2011 - 2:58PM

    Ok. Guys. For your information India gave 1billion dollar aid to bangladesh.India gave 2billion dollar to afghanistan for creating intstitutionand infrastructure. India gave 500million dollars to african nations fo development purpose. Nowdays India can get millitary infrastructure from all over the world and not just from russia or US. India has much more better foreign policy than Paakistan. So please check your foreign policy. Recommend

  • Carol Grayson
    Jun 16, 2011 - 4:37PM

    Well done to journalists in Pakistan and elsewhere for speaking out with regard to the brutal torture and murder of my dear friend and collague Saleem Shahzad and others members of the press. The media needs to be independent and without fear in terms of the material it publishes. Government and institutions are servants of the people not the other way round and often funded by taxpayers money. Therefore they have to be accountable firstly for upholding law and order, secondly for ensuring justice is served. If not, then they are not worth our vote. Supressing free speech only makes many people fight to be more vocal and pen their concerns. One only has to look at the Middle East uprisings to see that brutality and abuse of human rights is a major reason why people are instigating revolutions… and rightly so… Also propaganda both from media and against media should be challenged in a reasonable manner Saleem was a man of honesty and integrity who simply wanted to present an honest account of events taking in all sides of a story…that is good journalism. Let us continue to uphold these important values in his memory… My solidarity with all journalists that honour the truth… Recommend

  • Bee
    Jun 16, 2011 - 5:51PM

    What are Indans doing talking irrelevant things on this forum? I have been watching these Indian posts all over this paper and they just seem to be chest thumping jai hind stuff. Indians seem to have too much free time that they log onto Pak news sites and badmouth Pak. And kudos to Pak newspapers for printing their vile comments. This shows you we are more tolerant of freedom of opinion. Try writing a pro Pak statement that is truthful in an Indian paper, it will never get printed. And seriously who cares about the Indian Army. We here do support our Army but also believe in questioning them. That’s our right. No Indian has any business commenting on our Army in a Pak forum. Recommend

  • chengez K
    Jun 16, 2011 - 6:35PM

    A brave journalist likked because he was about to uncover CIA infiltration of our agencies.

    Truth must be told.Recommend

  • AA
    Jun 16, 2011 - 7:19PM

    The Chief Justice Supreme court probably can ratify the appointment, just to keep the ball rolling. Surprisingly, the notification by the govt does not say who will be the chairman of the commission. Agha Rafiq being a chief justice of a court, what is the relative status? Govt is playing games…….Recommend

  • Rock
    Jun 16, 2011 - 7:39PM

    @Bee: Sorry, during multitasking I accidently posted my second comment here. Regarding other grivences visit Times and other indian forums you will get many pakistani brothers and sisters. This is not newspaper this is news website and webforum, so entire world can access it. Indians hate pak army because of it’s foreign policies and 4 adventures. We know that because of pak army the relation between two country is at so low level though we share same history and culture. It is another thing that pak army ruled civilians for almost 40years. Anyway please continue your discussion on journalism. Recommend

  • Babloo
    Jun 16, 2011 - 7:50PM

    @Changhez
    No the journalist was exposing military-Alqaida nexus and infiltration in the arnmed forces and not CIA infltration.
    Recommend

  • Cautious
    Jun 16, 2011 - 8:12PM

    Forming a committee is one thing — getting anyone in govt to cooperate is another. One must give this committee the teeth to coerce cooperation.Recommend

  • Babloo
    Jun 16, 2011 - 9:03PM

    What is there to investigate ??
    The phone records, as per reports, have been wiped clean.
    The evidense destroyed.
    The judges have no powers over the sensitive agancies and a judge may meet the same fate as Saleem Shehzad if he investigated fearlessly.Recommend

  • Shamsi Ajanee
    Jun 16, 2011 - 9:18PM

    With the games this government is trying to play,it will seriously damage if not destroy this countryRecommend

  • Humanity
    Jun 16, 2011 - 9:46PM

    @Shamsi Ajanee wrote: With the games this government is trying to play,it will seriously damage if not destroy this country

    Is it not at already damaged, if not destroyed?Recommend

  • Mirza
    Jun 16, 2011 - 10:01PM

    How could justices refuse to work if their egos are not stroked? Start the investigation, and do not waste time on the technicalities. SC CJ can and should go ahead and give the go ahead.
    There are more excuses in Pakistan for the inaction and not working. Please start working before some person challenges this in the court and stops the working. Recommend

  • shahid khan
    Jun 16, 2011 - 10:16PM

    Like many others murder cases in Pakistan the killer of Saleem Shehzad would not be arrested because of our inefficient and corrupt Law and justice system but I am sure Allah will do the justice on the great day of judgement INSHALLAHRecommend

  • Arsalan
    Jun 16, 2011 - 11:42PM

    In comments above……………..No proof but hard bashing of Pakistan Amry & ISI.

    All fiction – no facts.

    Who is paying the bill ?Recommend

  • mahmood
    Jun 17, 2011 - 12:10AM

    This is the second important commission in a row that has misfired … doesn’t anyone in your govt have enough common sense to ask someone in advance whether they want to be on a commission? Pathetic.Recommend

  • Raj
    Jun 17, 2011 - 3:37AM

    @Rock : Why do we need to compare everything between India and Pakistan. Pakistan has it’s own set of problems and they are dealing with it in their own way. Why do we need to drag a comparison with India into this? We can only put India on those contexts where India or Indians are getting affected . Otherwise let’s stop this usual bragging about everything Indian. If at all we are dragging India in these discussions let’s do it in a positive way, not just in a manner where it’s more about highlighting how better India is than Pakistan . Otherwise some other national can now chip in and showcase how his country is better than both India and Pakistan and the childish debate will go on rather than any objective contribution to the cause.Recommend

  • naeem khan
    Jun 17, 2011 - 3:55AM

    Either this government is so incompetent that they just don’t get it or playing games with every law and order situration.It’s mind boggling that they appoint some one but never ask them if they will be available for the job.I think Pakistanis should take notice of this party and their shenanigans, get rid of them for decades to come.Some of them belong in jail.Majority of them are morally bankrupt.Recommend

  • Mirza
    Jun 17, 2011 - 4:31AM

    Asma rocks. Many of us are proud of you. Way to go AsmaRecommend

  • T. Malik
    Jun 17, 2011 - 5:06AM

    You report, “Awan said Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani was woken up from sleep”.
    Tut, tut. She should pay dearly for waking up the Prime Minister from his three year’s slumber.

    So, is “the improper conduct of the government” due to the fact that the Prime Minister had really not woken up, was still asleep and could not read what he was signing or are all the minions, including Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting, completely incompetent and prepared a document that was patently absurd?Recommend

  • Akthar
    Jun 17, 2011 - 5:12AM

    ET, in all the mess, plz do not forget that family of the true pakistani shehzad is not forgotten. They must be paid adequate compensation to support their livimg! Kindly followup. Plz also ensure no more journalists are attacked ever again by anyone includingmilitants & ISIRecommend

  • Rashid Khan
    Jun 17, 2011 - 5:23AM

    Pakistan is one of the lowest rated countries on the HDI index but it would definitely top the list whose citizens have the most highly inflated egos. Recommend

  • Mirza
    Jun 17, 2011 - 9:56AM

    @AA:
    FYI, every SC justice is higher than HC justice even if he is chief.
    Regards,
    MirzaRecommend

  • Rock
    Jun 17, 2011 - 12:03PM

    @Raj: I am not interested in comaparing things but their watchman has not only hijacked their kitchen but also broke our windows 4 times still the family praised their watchman. Not only that this watchman is not allowing normal relationship between two families. As I earlier appolozised for my misplaced 2nd comment so close the topic and continue with journalism issue. Recommend

  • jabralter
    Jun 17, 2011 - 10:19PM

    @Rock:
    Okay, u r giving billions of dollars to other countries, but millions of poor people of UR “GREAT: India are in need of bread, never forget about nexalite, nagaland, Sikkam and other separatist movements, curruption in ur army and politicians, must see ur own inland matter, stop conspiracies and remarks on our matters, we shall solve them, Pakistan will remain on earth, we know our problem. ;Recommend

  • qasim
    Jun 17, 2011 - 10:51PM

    u include all those comminents which r hiting the army and isi only which is bad Recommend

  • Kamran
    Jun 18, 2011 - 10:26AM

    so meeting up with a hindu right wing extremist baal thakray is okay for the left wing “aaj mein ooper aasma neechay” ? does it make her a better secular fascist socialist hypocrite¿ asma has no hopes of winning the next bar elections as she has done nothing for the bar or lawyers community, and Supreme court lawyer Zulfiqar Naqvi is all ready to give her a humiliating defeat in the coming elections. Miss Asma is as usual desperate for some political point scoring.Recommend

  • Irtaza
    Jun 19, 2011 - 4:17AM

    The criticism of the ISI and army is completely justified. If only the people who discount the criticism as a conspiracy bother to read the Hamud-ur-Rehman commission report and realize that our army is capable of alot worse than what Saleem suffered. Unfortunately , people forget and they are not willing to educate themselves. We all are Pakistanis and the army is Pakistan’s institution but that doesn’t mean it is beyond the grips of Law, beyond accountability, beyond criticism. Army does not define the national interest of a country, the people do. If an institution is getting decadent to the point that it may sink Pakistan and its people whilst continuing with the policy of self-denial, it is the responsibility of each and every sane Pakistani to point to the obvious wrongdoings. Pakistan needs rule of law , a law that does not distinguish between men in uniform and men who are not.Recommend

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