Shahzad was killed in Islamabad: Police

Published: June 22, 2011
One suspect rounded up for alleged involvement in the abduction.

One suspect rounded up for alleged involvement in the abduction.


The Punjab police have concluded that investigative journalist Saleem Shahzad was killed in Islamabad, and not in Sarai Alamgir, where his body had been dumped.

The autopsy report into Shahzad’s murder states that he had died 48 hours before the autopsy was conducted. Police suspected that his body was dumped in the Upper Jhelum Canal near Sarai Alamgir to mislead investigators since his car was taken there and parked on GT Road after the murder, according to the investigation report, a copy of which was made available to The Express Tribune.

Islamabad police have arrested a suspect for his involvement in the abduction and murder of Shahzad while the Punjab Police have not yet made any arrests. Shahzad, who was bureau chief of Asia Times Online in Pakistan, disappeared after driving off for a talk show on Dunya TV.

There is not a single lead that could help narrow down the scope of the investigation  and “bring into sharp relief any possible suspect(s),” stated the report. The investigation was entrusted to a three-member team headed by DIG Establishment Punjab Shoaib Dastageer.

Allegations against an intelligence agency are based on a perceived sequence of events that came into evidence after Shahzad’s death. He felt seriously threatened after his story on the assault on the PNS Mehran was published and confided to Dawn Group CEO Hameed Haroon and Ali Dayan Hassan of Human Rights Watch that the ISI had issued him a veiled death threat. This was corroborated by his brother-in-law Mudassar Hamza Amir who confirmed that Shahzad had no personal animosity.

Amir also said he had his cell phone and laptop with him when he was abducted which have not been traced. Experts have failed to access his e-mail account that could have yielded a list of Shahzad’s contacts. All this has greatly hindered the investigation. Most callers have been identified after Call Data Record analysis, but the police has gone a step further and contacted Telecom companies and the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority for access to Tower Traffic data which has not been provided.

The statements of Shazad’s relatives and colleagues have been recorded except for Haroon and Hassan who will give their statements after they return to the country. According to senior journalist Asif Khan, Shahzad had told him he wished to settle abroad a week before his death.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 22nd, 2011.

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Reader Comments (25)

  • Mirza
    Jun 22, 2011 - 8:04AM

    There is not a single lead that could help narrow down the scope of the investigation and “bring into sharp relief any possible suspect(s),”

    This only proves that the killers were not armatures but experienced hardened criminals. This shameful murder has all the footprints of trained Mafia like organization. I am not accusing anybody, as the matter is now under investigation. However, if the shoe fits wear it! Recommend

  • BruteForce
    Jun 22, 2011 - 8:34AM

    “Experts have failed to access his e-mail account that could have yielded a list of Shahzad’s contacts.”

    This can be done by any hacker on the Internet. If Pakistan has the hackers to bring down Indian websites, cant it employ one to help in an investigation?

    Certainly the ISI can chip in and help? If they are indeed not his killers they have every reason to help in the investigation to clear up their name. Why are they not offering help?

    Has the ISI something to hide?Recommend

  • Jamshed
    Jun 22, 2011 - 8:45AM

    It doesn’t matter where he was killed, just get the culprits. Is DIG punjab trying to throw ball in Islamabad police court?Recommend

  • Iftikhar-ur-Rehman
    Jun 22, 2011 - 11:00AM

    This is just a white wash nothing will come out of the investigation and the commission Recommend

  • kazi jawed akhter
    Jun 22, 2011 - 12:09PM

    We must give a chance to the commission appointed by CJ.Hopefully,the truth will come out.
    Jo chup rehay gi zaban e khanjar Lahoo pukaray ga aasteen kaRecommend

  • Akthar
    Jun 22, 2011 - 12:27PM

    What came out of shaheed BB’s murder that you expect something here! BB was murdered under the military rule, just like her father by another General called Zia. No General in our history has ever been or will ever be convicted for any of their wrong doings including losing all wars & half the country!

    Nothing comes out & everyone knows it.Recommend

  • Funny
    Jun 22, 2011 - 2:15PM

    @Akthar: Were you covering the wars that you so authentically say LOST all wars? or have been reading too much indian times?Recommend

  • Lobster
    Jun 22, 2011 - 2:22PM

    You seems more interested in Pakistani affairs than your own country India. I wonder why? Recommend

  • Syed Imran
    Jun 22, 2011 - 2:34PM

    @ Funny

    Akhtar is an Indian writing for Indian interest, so what do u think?Recommend

  • Everlast
    Jun 22, 2011 - 2:35PM

    O I am missing a comment let be be the one to write it here “Pakistan should be a Secular country we should separate religion and state”Recommend

  • ali
    Jun 22, 2011 - 2:37PM

    It’s a good lead, especially the timings of murder, established by the autopsy report are very vital in this case.
    It’s a real shame for the country’s security agencies that they silenced the voice of truth, if thaey are not involved them they must find the one responsible for this extra judicial killing.
    Who else, except the security agencies could dare to take Saleem Shahzad’s dead body from Islamabad to Sarai Alamgir and dump at the canal – besides driving his car too all the way?
    No terrorist in the country has the access to Cell Company and PTA data – that has been erased from the system. The access to these systems is only with country’s security agencies. If ISI’s hand were clean – as being professed in ISI & ISPR media statements – then the cell phone data should have been left as such.
    I assure you it would have pointed to some high rising buildings closer to ABPARA market of Islamabad, the truth of which is evident from the blockade of commoner’s access road.
    The investigation must start from those nominated by late Saleem Shahzad in his mail. The commission must order the arrest of all suspected people to Punjab Police as that seems to be the only way to move forward at the blind murder case.
    But I wonder – with our powerful security establishment – will this commission would be able dispense justice to bereaved family, nonetheless, destiny shall take its course and settle the account from those responsible for the brutal murder of a brave person.
    May Allah shower his blessings at the departed soul.Recommend

  • waqqas iftikhar
    Jun 22, 2011 - 2:52PM

    @funny – they did lose in ’71, lost in ’48, and pretty close to losing again in ’65, which was a stalemate not a win – and the less said about the kargil fiasco the better…Recommend

  • ali
    Jun 22, 2011 - 3:29PM

    The security guard, who fired at Saleem Shahzad last year in UN club, causing Liver injury to Saleem being refered to in Punjab Police report. 1st thing Saleem Shahzad did aftervhis recovery was to PARDON the guard.
    What a Champ job Islamabad Police has done by rounding up the same guy?
    Have they found any clue of his involvement in the murder?
    Islamabad Police has really disappointed so far in Saleem Shahzad’s case and can not be trusted. Recommend

  • Feroz
    Jun 22, 2011 - 4:11PM

    The investigative agencies will force a confession from some mentally challenged individual and nicely cover their backside. The real TRUTH will emerge after a few years when the conspirators fall out with each others.Recommend

  • Roflcopter
    Jun 22, 2011 - 4:27PM

    I think it is quite clear now that ISI was not involved.Recommend

  • Jun 22, 2011 - 5:05PM

    Nothing but allegations, negativity and pessimism.…………I see in these remarks……!!!!

    What is this ?

    You people are trying to settle your own scores but harming this country in a big way/Recommend

  • Akthar
    Jun 22, 2011 - 6:00PM

    Mr Funny, i know it hurts me too to say this. But i wish to talk the truth rather than being delusional. Losing half the country or withdrawal from kargil according to me is not winning the war. & please read wikipedia which i believe is authentic.
    The point i wish to make here is the honesty of rulers, both political & army, in telling us the truth. They lied to us during kargil & all other times. We still dont know what happened of benazir, OBL, PNS or the latest instance of BBC reporting arrest of Brigadiar.
    Now, please tell me whom to trust! Our rulers or??Recommend

  • Akthar
    Jun 22, 2011 - 6:09PM

    @syed imran, for people like you anyone asking for accountability from our rulers is a Jew, Indian or american agent. People like you with a closed mind are destroying my country. Recommend

  • Roflcopter
    Jun 22, 2011 - 6:13PM

    @Khalid Masood, what do you expect from a website infested with indians?Recommend

  • ali
    Jun 22, 2011 - 6:51PM

    Hoe come they are not, all indicators lead to Abparamarket?
    I pray it does not happen to some one dear to you.
    Its they – the ISI people- who mrdered him. Just go through the book written by him and you wil find a reason of ISI murdering Saleem Shahzad. Recommend

  • ali
    Jun 22, 2011 - 7:02PM

    @Roflcopter: Just have a look at your own web name, you seem to be from the class of duffer military men – very well defined by Asma Jehangir. We all are the proud Pakistanies.Recommend

  • Akthar
    Jun 22, 2011 - 7:59PM

    @rolfcopter. Brother, You call us negativism. We call it trying to correct the system. Just by escaping / hiding the facts, we cant correct things. 35000 lives have been lost & we still dont know who the enemy is? US, Taliban, India or ?? How did we come to this situation in the last few decades? What should be done to correct it? Did we punish our leaders who brought us this misery? How to avoid the aituation? What should be our vision for the next 20 years?

    I know, you’ll blame me as a jewish agent and happily go to sleep! People like you with a delusional mindset have become our leaders and destrouing my country!Recommend

  • BruteForce
    Jun 22, 2011 - 8:06PM


    If you guys fail and the nukes fall into the Terrorist’s hands it very much becomes my affair. Thats why!Recommend

  • Jun 23, 2011 - 12:33AM


    Isn’t it ironic that you are trying your utmost to make us a failed state and now worrying about nukes getting into terrorists hands? Now that the Americans are leaving Afghanistan hopefully the fighting will end. And Hopefully the elections in 2 years time will bring a new government which if performed even 1 percent better than this government will do wonders!Recommend

  • BruteForce
    Jun 23, 2011 - 8:55PM

    “Now that the Americans are leaving Afghanistan hopefully the fighting will end.”

    There were no Americans in 1990s but Pakistan burning even then. Groups like LeJ and LeT were born then!

    The Pakistani economy under sanctions underperformed as a result. This time the Sanctions will suffocate Pakistan like never before. What reason is there for the US not to sanction Pakistan if they get out?

    “And Hopefully the elections in 2 years time will bring a new government which if performed even 1 percent better than this government will do wonders!”

    Democracy needs good leaders, honest and principled. Especially at the beginning. Is there any such leader in Pakistan? There is a leadership deficit in Pakistan that is not going to go away any time soon. Without strong leaders Army is not going to give up with influence. Remember ZAB how Army fought back and ended his life? Or Benazir?

    Good luck.Recommend

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