Saleem Shahzad Case: As family struggles, authorities drag their feet

Published: June 9, 2011
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In this photo taken on November 28, 2006, Pakistani journalist Syed Saleem Shahzad talks on his cell phone. PHOTO: AFP

In this photo taken on November 28, 2006, Pakistani journalist Syed Saleem Shahzad talks on his cell phone. PHOTO: AFP

LAHORE: 

With events continuously conspiring against them, the family of slain journalist Saleem Shahzad has been forced to move out of their rented residence in Islamabad and relocate to Karachi, The Express Tribune has learnt.

Shahzad’s widow and their three children Fahad Saleem, 13, Amna Saleem, 10, and Rehman Shah, seven, were forced to give up their residence because they could no longer afford the rent. Meanwhile, to make matters worse, ten days after his death, the Islamabad and Punjab police still remain undecided on registering further cases of abduction and murder to the case of the slain journalist.

While the family of the journalist, who continued his quest to uncover the truth despite threats to his life, in dire straits, the authorities are yet to contact the family for compensation and legal assistance.

Shahzad owned three bank accounts, none of which can be accessed by his widow yet, since the authorities have failed to provide her with a successor certificate.

Sub Inspector Shafiq Ahmed at the Islamabad police station, investigation officer for the case Moharrar and an official of the records room at the said police station Naveed allegedly remained uncooperative in terms of receiving the application/ supplementary statement for adding a murder charge (under section 302 of the Pakistan Penal Code) to it.

Only after two lawyers intervened in the matter did the investigation officer “reluctantly” receive the application, Hamza Ameer, Shahzad’s brother-in-law told The Express Tribune.

The application submitted by complainant Hamza Ameer, Shahzad’s brother-in-law, addressed to the Margalla police station SHO, requested that a murder charge  be included in the complaint, as it was initially lodged under Section 365 of the PPC, which was when Shahzad had gone missing.

According to Ameer, the investigation officer said that the case file had been referred to the legal branch for its opinion regarding whether a murder charge should be added at the Margalla police station where the complaint was first filed when Shahzad went missing, or at the Mandi Bahauddin police station where the body was recovered and a case was registered against unidentified persons for torturing a person to death.

Meanwhile, the investigation officer sub inspector Ahmed said that because the eyewitnesses, police officials, and medical officers belonged to Mandi Bahauddin, and since a separate murder case had been registered at the Saddar Mandi Bahauddin police station, it was likely that the murder charge would not be included at the Margalla police station. However, he added that the final decision would be taken after seeking legal opinion.

A three-member committee headed by DIG Shoaib Dastageer, along with other committee members visited Shahzad’s house in Islamabad to record Ameer’s statement.

The team questioned Ameer about whether Shahzad had an enmity with any individual, institution, or organisation, and later said that because the case was still in the initial stage, they could not blame any particular institution, organisation or individual without concrete evidence.

Ameer told the committee that Shahzad had no personal enmities, and that his reporting was the probable cause for his death.

The chief minister had directed the IGP to constitute a three-member committee with Dastageer in charge and submit a report to him within three days. However, ten days into Shahzad’s murder, the committee is yet to hand over its report.

When asked about it, DIG Dastageer said that the deadline for the probe was unimportant, and starting the probe in order for the investigation to reach a logical end was the bigger issue.

Ameer said that aside from Interior Minister Rehman Malik no other government functionary had contacted Shahzad’s family, nor had anyone announced a compensation for the aggrieved widow and children.

The future of Shahzad’s widow and his children remains uncertain as with each passing day they realise they have no one to turn to.

According to Ameer, when Malik visited the slain journalist’s house, he assured the family that the government would bear all expenses in terms of flying Shahzad’s body out from Islamabad to Karachi. Malik had told the family that the government would take on the responsibility of paying for the children’s education, cover the family’s health expenses and provide them with other basic necessities. However, with each passing day, the interior minister’s promises appear hollower, Ameer said.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 9th, 2011.

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Reader Comments (15)

  • Bhutto
    Jun 9, 2011 - 8:36AM

    Stop Forming Commissions and give the Public Answers. Enough of this drama, or else count me in for a Revolution. Too many Innocent citizens are dying, criminals are not being brought to justice, rather released on Bail. ie. Sialkot case. Recommend

  • Mirza
    Jun 9, 2011 - 8:41AM

    Can only happen in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, which is neither Islamic, nor true Republic, nor Pak. Recommend

  • Kazmis
    Jun 9, 2011 - 9:26AM

    What is the use of working on such truth that his children are facing problems now. Mr. Saleem Shazad did not planned wisely for his children, now they are facing tremendous problems depending financially on others. A family person should work sincerely for his family and not for enforcement of truth having such result. In our society no one teaches that never speak truth rather be diplomatic.Recommend

  • Pradip Doshi
    Jun 9, 2011 - 9:48AM

    How about wife of Lt.Saleem write a letter to The Chief Justice of respective High Court? If, the police do not co-operate in accepting any application etc. could the same be not sent to Incharge of Police Station by Regd. Acknowledge Due post?Recommend

  • adnanbinraza@hotmail.com
    Jun 9, 2011 - 11:14AM

    hahahahaha.this country was created in the name of islam(we claim). hahahahaRecommend

  • Amir
    Jun 9, 2011 - 11:22AM

    @Mirza:
    This is PAK. If you dont see this purity, hell is waiting for youRecommend

  • ashok sai
    Jun 9, 2011 - 11:54AM

    Hope Pakistan media able to withstand and fight courageously. Don’t they have any association in between them which will give helping hand to the family of slain person ?Recommend

  • Jun 9, 2011 - 1:25PM

    Vienna,09-06-2011
    I just wrote to Asia Times Online, the employers of the late colleague Syed
    Saleem Shahzad to take care the safety and security of his wife and kids
    in addition to kids´ education citing the example set by the makers of Slum
    Dog Millionaire. The online newspaper of Hong Kong has set up a trust fund.
    If readers contribute just two EURO equivalent for the fund there would be
    an ocean of help fund.Email: trustfund@asiatimes.com My appeal do help.
    My help is already on way as two shared meals.One my own meal another
    meal from my Taravadu Taranga Trust for Media Monitoring, TTTMM.
    -Kulamarva Balakrishna Recommend

  • R S JOHAR
    Jun 9, 2011 - 3:22PM

    @kulamarva balakrishna:
    God bless you for contributing for a noble cause to help the family of the brave journalist. However, my only observation is that why the Pak print media association is not coming forward to help the family and also fight case against the agencies ?

    Everybody including civilian govt, local police and media appear to be in constant fear of being hunted down or either being threatened by these agencies. Recommend

  • Pradip Doshi
    Jun 10, 2011 - 10:17AM

    @Kazmis: He gave his life not yours. Why do you disgrace him by saying he did not provide wisely for his family? How do outsider know? It’s a shame to disgrace some dead person. Have sanity pl. With your thinking, no body has to voice against wrong and no soldier has to fight. Providing & growing need are two different realities.Recommend

  • Pradip Doshi
    Jun 10, 2011 - 10:20AM

    @kulamarva balakrishna: Your appeals suggests to throw few pennies. Let someone contribute handsomely. In fact, his employer should contribute handsomely.Recommend

  • Pradip Doshi
    Jun 10, 2011 - 10:32AM

    Usually community help is more a drum beating, snatching the pride/honour of the family and less a help. Those who like & love the family, would contribute secretly to the family.

    If some close relative of the man who lay his life for truth is projecting bad financial situation, he is sprinkling salt on the wound. The God is the biggest provider. The help comes from society but is sent by The God. One must show patience. A public appeal won’t yield plenty but will disgrace the departed soul & his family.

    Why can’t his employer support handsomely & see that his family gets pension for the person who brought revenue for the employer? Why disgrace him by creating a trust where people just throw few pennies.

    I am from India. We have a shepherd community which is known as a backward community.
    There is a tradition in this community to secretly put the contribution under the pillow of a sickman.

    The contribution should be known to the giver & taker.

    My experience is, publicising deter the prospects of marriage in respectable families of the daughters of the deceased.

    May his pride remain intact.Recommend

  • Jun 10, 2011 - 10:57AM

    Vienna,10-06-2011
    We all share but a single life.In sharing is the fun of living. That apart,reporters without
    borders,the employers since non Pakistanis are more concerned.The trust fund can help
    other victims of other journalist families.I am also an Indian but I not condone encounter murder indulged in by Daya Nayak, a uniformed boy from my district.We should learn to respect the rule of law. Checks and balances are necessary.Part of the Pakistani problem should be traced to the Punjabi tradition of uniting judicial and executive powers in the
    same hands.Soon after the independence India made amends but Pakistan extended it
    to other provinces so yesterday half a dozen rangers killed a teenager in the open,executing summary injustice!
    -Kulamarva BalakrishnaRecommend

  • Shareef
    Jun 14, 2011 - 12:47PM

    Dear All,
    Having gone through all the comments I was surprised that it all talked about the financial element of the article. I would request you all to go back and see the other aspect that is more important to the family ‘SECURITY’. I would like to see more comments that should be solution oriented to this problem. Leaving Islamabad and moving to Karachi may not be the option for them considering the security situation in Karachi.Recommend

  • Jun 14, 2011 - 2:24PM

    Vienna,14-06-2011
    Hi “SECURITY” is the sole responsibility of the ARMED FORCES and Rangers in
    shooting point blank range is security of pure Islamic citizens of the only proud
    nuclear power in the world,where no FOREIGN BOOTS ARE WELCOME.FOREIGN
    AIDS ARE ABSOLUTELY OPEN FOR DISTRIBUTION AMONG THE ARMED FORCES
    AND INTER SERVICES INTELLIGENCE STAFF AND AGENTS.I know Ischia Prize
    Foundation has invited Mrs.Shahzad to accept Journalism Excellence Award on July 8
    and 9 on behalf of her murdered herbend Syed Saleem Shahzad.My efforts are to
    get international security for Mrs.Shahzad and the kids.I know Ischia Foundation
    award is not only citation but also some peanuts worth 2,500 EUROs.
    It is not clear if she gets it since the statute of the Foundation makes it obligatory
    for the award winner personally collect the funds. On that count the foundation
    announcement is silent.I hope Pakistan´s Working Journalists Federation appeals
    to the Ischia Foundation to make an exception on humanitarian grounds. My
    Taravadu Taranga Trust for Media Monitoring,TTTMM appeals to all readers,especially
    Pakistani show compassion and offer help in the short term.
    -Kulamarva BalakrishnaRecommend

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