The government gave in on Saturday to journalists’ demand for a serving Supreme Court judge to investigate the murder of investigative journalist Saleem Shahzad.
Interior Minister Rehman Malik assured office-bearers of the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) that an investigation commission would be set up under a Supreme Court judge within two days.
The journalists, who had threatened to stage countrywide sit-ins, said they would go ahead with their plan if the government failed to establish the commission by June 10.
“Mere assurances and announcements cannot satisfy us,” said PFUJ President Pervaiz Shaukat.
Talking to The Express Tribune, Shaukat said that the interior minister had called to inform him that the prime minister had agreed to appoint a Supreme Court judge to head the commission.
The PFUJ chief quoted the interior minister as saying that a summary had been moved in this regard and that the prime minister was likely to approve it in two days.
Saleem Shahzad, the slain Pakistan bureau chief of the Hong Kong-based Asia Times Online, was found dead in Mandi Bahauddin on May 31 after being abducted from Islamabad two days ago. The post mortem report had revealed the journalist was tortured to death.
The president of the PFUJ told The Express Tribune that the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) was being kept updated in this connection.
Although he was unable to attend Saturday’s IFJ meeting in Beirut, Lebanon, he had been assured by the international body that a protest will be held across the world on June 15. Islamabad has been urged to hold an impartial inquiry into the killing.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 5th, 2011.
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