Saleem Shahzad commission: FIA says Shahzad’s phone records inaccessible

Password of slain journalist’s Blackberry can’t be retrieved, says agency.

Express July 26, 2011
Saleem Shahzad commission: FIA says Shahzad’s phone records inaccessible


Slain journalist Saleem Shahzad’s phone records could not be accessed as the password to his BlackBerry device cannot be retrieved, according to the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA).

Shahid Nadeem Baloch, director of FIA’s cyber crime wing, was testifying on Monday before the five-member judicial commission tasked to probe Shahzad’s murder.

“The foreign cellular company [Shahzad used] will have to be approached formally either by the government or by Shahzad’s family,” Baloch said.

The commission, headed by Justice Saqib Nisar, also recorded the statements of journalists Imtiaz Alam and Qamer Yousafzai. Alam presented a record of journalists killed over the past few years, while journalist Absar Alam has been instructed to submit a written statement.

After the meeting, the commission’s information secretary Taimur Azmat told reporters that the panel has already directed the Islamabad Capital Territory’s inspector-general of police to contact the company to obtain Shahzad’s password.

The commission has also tasked its member Pervaiz Shaukat to approach the cellular company for obtaining the password and data.

Shaukat said that the statements of the medico-legal officer who conducted Shahzad’s autopsy will be recorded on Wednesday.

He said that journalist Najam Sethi had requested the commission to allow him to appear in September but the commission has asked him to record his statement earlier.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 26th,  2011.


j sardar | 12 years ago | Reply

The kidnapping and murder of Shaheed Salim Shahzaad must have been done by some organisation which is so powerful that even the phone records are still not available. This is itself pointing ten fingers towards ISI . We must speak up truth and expose the crime done by any organisation whatever powerful may be, if we want Pakistan to survive.

Pained Patriot | 12 years ago | Reply That is because it has been deleted, removed or made accessible only to the Aabpara boys. If you don't have physical access to the phone, in this case a blackberry handset which may or may not be password protected, this does not mean that subscriber data including record of phone call logs, text messages and any WAP (internet) data records which would in any case be stored on the databases of the cellular phone company is unavailable. I would imagine there is a statutory requirement laid down by the PTA to hold any incoming/outgoing call data for a minimum period of time. For e.g. in the UK and EU wide this is 12 months. In addition to this data, the cell tower data is also recorded which helps place the subscriber or the handset within a few sq kilometres of the said cell tower. As the handset moves and the wireless handshake with the next nearest cell tower is made, or if the cellular company pings the handset, a very accurate location reading can be acquired by triangulation between cell towers. Given the very professional nature of the kidnap, murder and disposal of the body in a stream, the killers are forensically aware and would most likely have switched off the mobile and removed the batteries. When a mobile is switched off, it sends a 'good bye' signal to the nearest cell tower...if the batteries are pulled out then this may not be the case, an important distinction to note. Obviously, the availability of this critical record has gone missing or has been made unavailable. This should be seen in the light of the remarks of Admiral Mike Mullen who has said that he has seen 'intelligence' which provides clues to the involvement of the government, read military agencies. Even in the wake of the stressed US-Pak military relations, this is quite a disturbing allegation. What it says is that the military intelligence apparatus does not have the intellectual capacity to deal with issues with a sense of clarity, instead it chooses to bump off those it sees as irritants.
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