No culprit named in Saleem Shahzad report

Published: January 11, 2012

Vital questions go unanswered; monetary compensation for family recommended. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

LAHORE: 

The Saleem Shahzad Commission was asked to submit its report within six weeks of its formation. Six months down the line however, its final findings show little.  The report, presented to the prime minister on Tuesday, has not held any institution or individual responsible for the abduction, torture and murder of the journalist, according to a member of the probe.

In essence, this means that the main purpose of the commission as stated in the law ministry’s June 16, 2011 notification has failed. The notification stated the terms of reference for the commission were: “To inquire into the background and circumstance of abduction and subsequent murder of Saleem Shahzad” and to “indentify the culprits involved in the abduction and subsequent murder of the said journalist”. In addition, it aimed to provide recommendations to prevent the recurrence of such incidents against journalists in the future.

Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFU) President Pervaiz Shaukat, who is also a member of the commission, told The Express Tribune that while the commission has not held anyone directly responsible, it has, on the other hand, included its doubts and concerns in the final report.

What the report recommended

As far as any concrete steps are concerned, the report includes PFUJ’s recommendations for the safety and welfare of journalists as well as financial assistance to be provided to Shahzad’s family, according to Shaukat. The commission asked the government to establish an ombudsman office in order to redress the grievances of journalists, and that the government bear education expenditure for the children of the slain journalist. In addition, his family is to be provided financial compensation worth Rs3 million.

How the commission investigated

Shaukat said the commission had recorded the statements of 41 individuals that are part of the report relating to the incident, including representatives of the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI), Intelligence Bureau (IB), Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), police, journalists, legal heirs of Shahzad, doctors and eyewitnesses.

The commission also visited the crime scene, both where the slain journalist’s car and his body were recovered, he added. A member of the panel also said that the government has given an ‘assurance’ that it will take action against the culprits in accordance with the findings – although the findings have found no culprits.

Complainants in case dissatisfied

While talking to The Express Tribune, Hamza Ameer, the brother-in-law as well as complainant in both cases registered at Islamabad and Mandi Bahauddin (on the charges of abduction and murder respectively), said that he has not yet received a copy of the report of the judicial commission. He added that he had contacted Shaukat in this regard who said he was ‘not in a position’ to provide a copy at this point.

Ameer said that while the recovery of laptop or phone sets, which was necessary for the investigation, was not a problem, it was vital to retrieve phone and email data on time. The cell data should have been retrieved from the telecommunication company earlier, Ameer complained.

Shahzad was abducted while driving from his house to a television station in Islamabad on May 29 last year, 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 near Mandi Bahauddin, a district of Punjab province.

Rights groups and journalists’ bodies had alleged that he was killed by the ISI.

The high-level judicial commission, headed by Supreme Court judge Justice Saqib Nisar, was formed to probe the killing in June last year.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 11th, 2012. 

Reader Comments (27)

  • HH
    Jan 11, 2012 - 9:59AM

    Seriously? What a useless commission. Why did they even go through this entire process, at tremendous cost to the Pakistani taxpayer, if they were to not find any culprits?

    This whole escapade is another conclusive sign. Recommend

  • mk
    Jan 11, 2012 - 10:35AM

    Journalist should know there limits when reporting on issues concerning national security.
    Pakistan KhapeRecommend

  • ashok sai
    Jan 11, 2012 - 11:08AM

    Corruption is way better than criminals.

    Recommend

  • Hafiz Shah Ali
    Jan 11, 2012 - 11:10AM

    So instead of six weeks the Commission took six months
    And what was the finding………….
    No wonder this nation is driftingRecommend

  • Jan 11, 2012 - 11:18AM

    @mk:

    Journalist should know there limits when reporting on issues concerning national security.

    Who watches the watchmen?

    And you think this justifies criminal torture and murder? Perhaps exactly why there needs to be more reporting and transparency on our sham ‘national security’, which seems to not understand the role of protecting citizens and being accountable instead of oppressing them like tyrannical zalims and privileged violent psychos.

    Worse than the past Bush and current Obama US admins who threatened and targeted journalists.

    Recommend

  • kumar
    Jan 11, 2012 - 11:24AM

    After killing himself,Shahzad went on to hide his own body several miles away,and then destroyed his own cellphone data from the telephone company’s records

    Recommend

  • Irfan Aziz
    Jan 11, 2012 - 11:27AM

    A tale of three commissions (OBL, Saleem Shehzad, and Memogate) would make an interesting reading.

    Recommend

  • Akhtar
    Jan 11, 2012 - 11:30AM

    We all knew what the findings of commission would be. We all know who killed SSS. Everything is on expected lines.
    Recommend

  • Beatle
    Jan 11, 2012 - 11:34AM

    Commissions, judicial, military or civil, are appointed only to linger-on the incident and
    end-up with meaningless conclusions.

    Recommend

  • R S JOHAR
    Jan 11, 2012 - 11:34AM

    As on expected lines the culprit could not be found. However, the invisible culprit is known to whole of Pakistan. RIP.

    Recommend

  • vasan
    Jan 11, 2012 - 11:49AM

    Typical of Pakistan. All the Commissions’ reports are useless and will accumulate dust in the archives while establishment will continue as usual

    Recommend

  • Jan 11, 2012 - 12:00PM

    This is not the 1st commission… Our every commission provided no result!

    Recommend

  • Feroz
    Jan 11, 2012 - 12:02PM

    Since the culprit has not been named by the Commission, it now stands confirmed who has committed the crime.

    Recommend

  • Straight_Talk
    Jan 11, 2012 - 1:05PM

    The commission has served its purpose, isn’t it ? It was setup by the establishment and has served the establishment well. However an isolated Zardari can revive this issue to pin down the establishment specially when the judiciary and the army are looking to be working in tandem against the civilian polity specially the PPP government. PML N and PTI will have no scope to oppose this move by PPP thereby cornering the army.

    Recommend

  • parvez
    Jan 11, 2012 - 1:06PM

    These SC judges find the slightest excuse to foul mouth the PPP and its government, but agaisnt the Khakis it knows better. Also note that two judges have refused to hear the case against Dost M Khosa. What does this say?? And the CJ of SC keeps mum!!! All guns are for the PPP because thisparty is a democratic party and does not under hand methods against its foes.

    Recommend

  • Liberal
    Jan 11, 2012 - 1:21PM

    “It now stands confirmed, who killed Saleem Shahzad”

    Recommend

  • Rizwan Ahmad
    Jan 11, 2012 - 3:49PM

    This is a perfect example of systematic target killing. It clearly shows how strong these agencies are.

    Recommend

  • Roflcopter
    Jan 11, 2012 - 5:04PM

    hahaha I feel sorry for the people who were eagerly waiting for this report because they thought ISI would be blamed for the murder. Another dream of ISI haters washed away.

    Recommend

  • AM
    Jan 11, 2012 - 5:28PM

    as expected..

    Recommend

  • Ahmad
    Jan 11, 2012 - 6:52PM

    if one were to go by this report, we should doubt whether he was even murdered.

    Recommend

  • hamza khan
    Jan 11, 2012 - 10:38PM

    anyone who thought the ISI killed this jorunalist needs to get out of stupid indina propaganda and start being able to defend a vital national institution from indian rats. the ISI did not kill him. i can state that categorically. anyone who doubts this needs only to look at the way in which he was killed and how his body was disposed. this is not the way an intelligence agency operates. its sad he is dead. i respected him as a journalist, but to blame the ISI is premature and only gives our enemies reason to blame the army.

    Recommend

  • saleem
    Jan 12, 2012 - 12:07AM

    @roflcopter

    Are you laughing because the reps of ISI, IB and FIA being five times praying muslims came to the commission took up the Holy Quran and said they didnt know who kidnapped and killed SS, then drove the car to another town and dumped the body in the nallah.

    Or are you laughing because the supreme judiciary is going after people who are supposed to have been pick pockets and thieves instead of kidnappers and killers.

    Recommend

  • American Desi
    Jan 12, 2012 - 12:37AM

    Commissions are excuses to buy time till all the evidences are wiped clean!

    Recommend

  • wallbangr
    Jan 12, 2012 - 12:52AM

    Hahahaha. Love these Pakistani Commisions and their useless reports. It is a sure sign you’ve caught the ISI red handed when someone suddenly decides that a commission will be appointed to draw up a report. Same thing happend when they caught the World’s Most Wanted Terrorist living worry free in Abbottabad. I’m sure this report will be as laughable as the one that came out in the wake of OBL, PNS Mehran, Ray Davies, etc.

    Oddly enough, the one time there wasn’t a commission or a report was the recent Mohmand attack. Funny how the Pak government could not be bothered to even “investigate” the matter, preferring instead to relish domestic outrage while putting its spin on the incident as an unprovoked and intentional attack. Predictably, the good people of Pakistan ate it up. Something like that is always a welcome distraction from the corruption, ineptitude and dishonesty that is at the heart of Pakistani governance. Cheers to burning Western leaders in effigy! That is, until the show is over and you have to schlep back home to the squalid reality of living within a failed state…

    Recommend

  • manzar ul haque
    Jan 12, 2012 - 1:58AM

    its time to tackle this monster head on.All the democratic forces should support the current govt.& help it in completing its term of office.
    There are too many extrajudicial killings taking place in Pakistan & none of them will ever be linked to a single culprit or agency.This is precisely why no one has ever been prosecuted for these killings,be in Karachi, Balochistan or Tribal areas!
    We have paid a very high price till now with the blood our young ,its finally reached a crisis point ,country’s salvation lies in putting a collar onto this menacing monster.

    Recommend

  • Jan 12, 2012 - 11:57PM

    @ashok sai: Criminals are better than corruption. In the absence of corruption criminals can be brought to trial and successfully prosecuted and civil suits fairly won; the number of criminals decreases. With corruption that doesn’t happen and the number of criminals increase.

    Recommend

  • wonderer
    Feb 24, 2012 - 6:16PM

    Now, appoint another commission to investigate why the Judicial Commission did not name the culprit.

    Carry on appointing commissions one after the other till such time the name of the culprit is revealed.

    Then the Supreme Court should take to task all the commissions which did not reveal the name of the culprit for dereliction of duty.

    This is the only way to ensure future Judicial Commissions will perform their duty.

    This is the purest way to go forward in the land of the pure!Recommend

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