The government on Monday gave in to growing protests by the journalist community and formed a commission to investigate the abduction and subsequent killing of investigative journalist Saleem Shahzad.
Chief Justice of the Federal Shariat Court Justice Agha Rafiq will head the commission which will probe into the mysterious murder of Shahzad, who was the bureau chief of Hong Kong-based Asia Times Online in Pakistan.
The journalist community had rejected an earlier commission formed by the government — which comprised a police official each from Islamabad and Punjab and a representative of the journalist community. Media men demanded that a sitting judge of Supreme Court should head such a commission.
The body of Shahzad was found on May 31 in a canal in Mandi Bahauddin, about 150 kilometres southeast of Islamabad, two days after he went missing on his way from his home to a television interview in another part of the capital.
The Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) has given the government until June 15 to form a commission to investigate Shahzad’s killing or else it would stage a countrywide protest campaign and a sit-in outside parliament on Wednesday.
Reacting to the reports of the new commission, PFUJ President Parvaiz Shaukat said representatives of journalists would meet at the Supreme Court Bar Association building to discuss the matter. “We will see if the commission is acceptable to us,” he told The Express Tribune.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 14th, 2011.
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