A judicial commission, formed to investigate the brutal murder and torture of journalist Saleem Shahzad, failed to submit a report or draw any conclusion at the end of its six-week deadline.
The high-powered inquiry commission, formed in late June, was tasked to submit its report, findings and recommendation within six weeks. A request to extend the deadline for the commission’s findings has been sent to concerned authorities, sources familiar with the matter told The Express Tribune.
The five-member commission comprises Supreme Court judge Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, Federal Shariat Court Chief Justice Justice Agha Rafiq, Inspector General of Police Punjab, IGP Islamabad and Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) President Pervez Shaukat.
The commission was tasked to “inquire into the background and circumstance of abduction and subsequent murder of Saleem Shahzad, to indentify the culprits involved in the abduction and subsequent murder of the said journalist, and recommend measures to prevent recurrence of such gruesome incidents against journalists in future.”
Shaukat told The Express Tribune that the commission has recorded the statements of various officials as well as other individuals.
“Some new aspects have surfaced after visiting the scene of the crime and recording statements of certain individuals,” he said, adding that the commission has given some directions to investigators.
He said that important witnesses, including Shahzad’s widow and Human Rights Watch (Pakistan chapter) Director Ali Dayan Hassan, are yet to record their statements before the commission.
Ali Dayan Hassan told The Express Tribune that he has not recorded his statement because he is currently out of the country and will appear before the commission soon. “The Human Rights Watch hopes that the commission will complete its work satisfactorily,” he said.
The PFUJ president said that the extension in the commission’s deadline will be discussed in the next meeting.
Saleem Shahzad, the Pakistan Bureau Chief of Asia Times Online, was found dead in Mandi Bahauddin, nearly 130 kilometres south east of Islamabad.
His body bore severe marks of torture.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 6th, 2011.