Saleem Shahzad murder: Mobile phone data resurfaces, quietly

Published: June 18, 2011
The data is now said to be in the possession of the police.

The data is now said to be in the possession of the police.


The call record data of slain journalist Saleem Shahzad has resurfaced as quietly and mysteriously as it had first vanished.

The Punjab police is already sifting through it as part of its investigation into his abduction and murder.

The vanishing of the call data, some 10 days ago, had set off a number of alarms. It even found its way into the opening day’s arguments in the Supreme Court, which took up a petition regarding the formation of a commission to probe the murder on Friday.

Counsels representing journalists contended that Saleem Shahzad’s call data was deleted which can only be done by ‘a powerful agency’.

However, the data is now said to be in the possession of the police.

What’s in the data?

According to the call data, a total of 14 incoming and outgoing calls and text messages were placed from Shahzad’s phone between 8:37 am and 5 pm on May 29. The data also shows that Shahzad was mostly around Blue Area in Islamabad, except for a brief stopover in F-7 Markaz. His last call was at 5 pm, which he made to Dunya TV’s Islamabad office.

After 5 pm on May 29, the call record has no more information on Shahzad’s location. However, over the next two days, he did receive 92 text messages. A person’s cell-phone does not need to be on for the mobile telecommunications company to be able to log their text messages.

Meanwhile, police officials in Islamabad have yet to decide whether or not to add charges of murder to the abduction charges against unknown persons.

Police in Mandi Bahauddin, the town where Shahzad’s body was found, have also recorded the statements of Shahzad’s brother-in-law Hamza Ameer, his driver Arif, and three close friends of Shahzad: Muhammad Faizan, Zafar Sheikh and Asif Khan.

Police officials from Islamabad have finally contacted the victim’s family by telephone, Ameer told The Express Tribune, 16 days after the case was first registered, though just one day after it was announced that the inquiry commission would be headed by a Supreme Court judge.

The investigating officer on the case in Islamabad, Shafiq Ahmed, claimed that he had been on leave and would only be able to provide further details on the case when he reported back for duty on Saturday (today).

Meanwhile, Muhammad Aslam, the investigating officer in Mandi Bahauddin, said that he has completed initial legal formalities and recorded statements, including from the three Punjab irrigation department employees who found Shahzad’s body.

Recovery memos prepared by Mandi Bahauddin and Saray Alimgeer City Police have  revealed that 48 articles including a car, identity cards of Shahzad and Hamza Ameer, CDs, mobile phone and other utility bills, clothes, and papers, etc have been recovered from the vehicle of slain journalist’s car and crime scene.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 18th, 2011.

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Reader Comments (35)

  • Husein Ali Khan
    Jun 18, 2011 - 8:29AM

    Now this is miracle.

    Get some communication /IT expert to find out how this happened.May be someone may be a candidate for Noble prize.Recommend

  • Mirza
    Jun 18, 2011 - 8:41AM

    The data disappeared and then reappeared. How do we know that it is not altered?
    It only proves that there is foreign hand in this. Our security forces are not that smart. It appears an American, Jewish and Indian conspiracy to malign our brave and innocenet armed forces. Recommend

  • Akthar
    Jun 18, 2011 - 8:45AM

    That’s ISI magic! We can make things disappear & reappear! :).
    Now, dont dare say ISI is incompetent! Or you’ll disappear!Recommend

  • Cautious
    Jun 18, 2011 - 8:55AM

    Now who do you think has the ability to remove cell phone data and then replace it without anyone the wiser? Anyone believe this data has not been sanitized by now?Recommend

  • AD
    Jun 18, 2011 - 9:11AM

    Fabricated and controlled data has resurfaced with number erased of those who killed him.Recommend

  • Jun 18, 2011 - 9:41AM

    As soon as the Pak Army voiced its support for the investigation commission the ‘disappeared’ records have suddenly risen with the sun. Sometimes here, sometimes there, sometimes nowhere. Smells of rotting fish. Salams for a better Pakistan.Recommend

  • Faraz
    Jun 18, 2011 - 10:10AM


    Good one ;)Recommend

  • muhammad arsalan mehar
    Jun 18, 2011 - 10:21AM

    why no media coverage or talkshows or dharna for wali babar’s muder??? the report of several of our law enforcement agencies has clearly name the party responsible for babar’s murfder but our anchors,our newspapers,our jounalist organisations deliberately choose to stay quiet on his murder.

    why this double standard?? why doesn’t our media have the courage to demand justice for wali babar? after all,he belonged to this country’s biggest media group,yet this media group and its anchors are so scared of the party involved that they don’t dare say a thing.
    our anchors find it much easier to malign and abuse our army and intelligence agencies but don’t have the guts to talk about the bhai log party.Recommend

  • redsnapper
    Jun 18, 2011 - 10:26AM


    Nice joke ! :)Recommend

  • Siraj Ahsan
    Jun 18, 2011 - 10:46AM

    @Husein Ali Khan:
    Can you authenticate the record?Recommend

  • asghar jamal
    Jun 18, 2011 - 11:20AM

    @muhammad arsalan mehar:

    no one in pakistan has the courage to talk about the people behind wali babar’s murder.The media knows what will happen to them if they dare highlight wali babar’s murder so they choose to keep quiet and focus on attacking other political parties and the establishment.Recommend

  • Usman
    Jun 18, 2011 - 11:25AM

    The data has most likely been sanitized to protect the identity of the killer. The sooner we hold the culprits accountable the better off we’ll all be.Recommend

  • zeeshan haider
    Jun 18, 2011 - 11:52AM

    The Data was never erased. I have the copy of the email forwarded by the express reporter to one of my friend which contains the data files of both Saleem and his wife. the reporter was unable to decode the data of Saleem’s calls and dont know why filed that story of data vanishing.
    The data was then and there from day one and as the first story was a false one , this one is face saving.Recommend

  • Chilli
    Jun 18, 2011 - 11:58AM

    This seems a campaign against ISI too…Why not suspect CIA moles…Recommend

  • Moazzam Salim
    Jun 18, 2011 - 12:59PM

    And the ISPR is still adamant that their blue eyed boys of ISI are not involved??!! What guarantee is there that the data has not been tempered with? This resurfacing of data leaves more questions unanswered.Recommend

  • no aman ki aasha nor war
    Jun 18, 2011 - 1:33PM

    some one like kasab had done this i guess…but u support kasab doing the terrosit activity in india, why dont u support in ur country then?

    live and let live Recommend

  • Ishrat Salim
    Jun 18, 2011 - 2:08PM

    Call data or logs of calls made can be derived from the phone company central data…?? not difficult if the authorities has the will & the capacity to demand such info….

    Hats-off to Muhammed Arsalan Mehar….very well said…why no such demand for investigation for Wali Babar ?Recommend

  • Adeel
    Jun 18, 2011 - 2:30PM

    how do we know the data was “lost” in the first place?Recommend

  • Sam
    Jun 18, 2011 - 3:40PM

    if it was vanished and is back in system now than obviously it was modified, Good luck investigation those logs now :P
    thy wont find anything now.Recommend

  • grink
    Jun 18, 2011 - 3:48PM


  • Javed
    Jun 18, 2011 - 3:52PM

    “Now you see it! Now you don’t…” – ISIRecommend

  • FactCheck
    Jun 18, 2011 - 4:05PM

    Great news. Now, law enforcement will be able to work with sanitized data to show ISI had no part in it whatsoever.

    Justice has been done. Everyone move along please.Recommend

  • Sarah Khan
    Jun 18, 2011 - 4:12PM

    These journalists never came out and did dharna when thousands of common ppl lost their lives in drones or in suicide incidents… They never came out for Wali Babar…

    Why they are all united for Saleem only? Looks like someone is pushing them to harm our Armed forces and Pakistan. like US is constantly pushing our Army!

    Damaging our Army forces = Damaging Pakistan!Recommend

  • Roflcopter
    Jun 18, 2011 - 5:22PM

    I guess the phone data was never really “lost” and it was a sad attemp by media to malign ISI. God bless the ISI.Recommend

  • Feroz
    Jun 18, 2011 - 6:01PM

    The disappearance and reappearance of call data records of Saleem Shehzad reveals the full picture to those who want to see it. If the disappearance and reappearance is the work of the same entity all these call records must be junked, otherwise some innocent person will get wrongly fixed. If records were deleted by one entity and records recovered by an independent International data retrieval authority, there is still hope. Considering that the Investigator and accused are likely jointly and severally to be the same entity chances of the truth emerging is bleak.Recommend

  • Usman Bashir
    Jun 18, 2011 - 6:08PM

    @AD: As Zeeshan Haider indicated the data was never vanished then its very simple , find out the data which is missing and curse him :) Recommend

  • Hammer
    Jun 18, 2011 - 6:18PM

    I just hope the resurfaced data from his phone is not tampered , some institution may have the capacity to doctor the data, I just dont trust the people who did this in the first place, You all know who I mean !!!!!Recommend

  • Munawar Ali Rind
    Jun 18, 2011 - 7:36PM

    @Mirza!! You satire is amazingly woderful and I only found such thing in Nadeem F Paracha and you, please contribute writing in Pakistani media and secular blogs of Pakistan like (Let Us Build Pakistan – LUBP)

    Islamabad Recommend

  • Salman Orangiwala
    Jun 18, 2011 - 9:06PM

    @Arasalan Mehar

    How about the 12 innocent human being massacared in Sher Shah , Since Wali Babar was simply a journalist he cannot outweigh 12 innocent lives.

    The bias is apparently obvious in your writing , Shouln’t we yell the same way for the justice of the 12 innocent souls ? If you do so , swear, I will take up side with you for Babar . .

    Injustice begets injustice .Period . .Recommend

  • Jun 18, 2011 - 9:41PM

    LOL !!!! the ISI really is off-balance!Recommend

  • shahid khan
    Jun 18, 2011 - 9:59PM

    Mr Shuja Pasha You are accountable to Allah on the great day of judgement for this murder; don’t worry. He will punish you by throwing you into hellRecommend

  • ashwin
    Jun 18, 2011 - 11:13PM

    Aladdin’s genie at work Boys.Hope the genie is efficient and has lost any data while performing the vanishing trick.May be the genie should vanish the whole Justice system of the country Recommend

  • zia
    Jun 19, 2011 - 12:48AM

    Sorry for Saleem Shahzads family. They are ones suffering the most. Recommend

  • Mirza
    Jun 19, 2011 - 1:35AM

    @Munawar Ali Rind:
    Dear Rind and all others, I am humbled and encouraged by your comments. I have been aching for publicizing the truth but was stopped one reason or the other. I have wasted lot of time writing in The News and others but was not even published as comments. A friend of mine told me about ET several months ago and we fell in love with each other.

    I have been bubbling with energy and wanted to give back to the society and it is a good outlet. However, being a perfectionsist and a scientist all my life I am never satisfied with my work. Now I have learned to react in a timely fashion and control my own emotions. I have time (unlike most people in the West I can find it) and would do that. May be one of these days this unknown old soldier would come out in the open?

    Thanks and regards,
    Mirza, USARecommend

  • Mirza
    Jun 19, 2011 - 2:22AM

    @zeeshan haider:
    Pretty ironic. To counter the fake story, army would come out not with the truth but another fake story? Recommend

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