Slain journalist: Saleem Shahzad’s case is buried, forgotten

Published: May 30, 2013
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The late journalist Saleem Shahzad. PHOTO: FILE

The late journalist Saleem Shahzad. PHOTO: FILE

LAHORE: 

Police have closed investigation into the murder of journalist Saleem Shahzad, taking a stance that no clue has been found, The Express Tribune has learnt.

Saleem Shahzad was the Pakistan bureau chief of Asia Times Online, Hong Kong and Italian news agency Adnkronos (AKI).

Shahzad was kidnapped on May 29, 2011 from Islamabad and his body was found floating in a canal near the Head Rasul area, in Mandi Bahauddin, about 130km from Islamabad, on May 30 with visible torture marks.

The Human Rights Watch (HRW) had pointed fingers at the Pakistani spy agency, Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), over Shahzad’s murder and the US government officials later announced that they had ‘reliable and conclusive’ intelligence that this was the case. The ISI denied the allegations outright and called them ‘totally unfounded’.

The last supplementary statement of this case had been written by the DSP Saddar Circle, Mandi Bahuddin, Hafiz Ataur Rehman, on February 3, 2012. The case had been registered with the Saddar police station, Mandi Bahauddin, on May 30, 2011 vide FIR No192.

The current Investigation Officer (IO) of the case, Sub Inspector Mumtaz Gill, told The Express Tribune that investigation into the case of Saleem Shahzad has been closed for the time being for lack of evidence.

The then government had set up a judicial inquiry commission, headed by Supreme Court Judge Saqib Nisar, to probe the abduction and murder of Shahzad. However, the commission failed to identify the culprits.

Judicial commission’s investigation

The commission, in its report on circumstances surrounding Shahzad’s death submitted to the prime minister on January 10, 2012, recommended making the ISI and Intelligence Bureau accountable within their organisations and to the parliamentary committees concerned.

The contents of the executive summary of the commission read, “Saleem’s writings probably did, and certainly could have drawn the ire of various belligerents in the war on terror which included the Pakistani state and non-state actors such as the Taliban and al Qaeda and foreign actors.

“Any of these could have had the motive to commit the crime, as clearly, he was also in close contact with all of these,” the report stated.

The incident may also have been linked, as asserted by some of the witnesses examined, to the subsequent drone attack on Ilyas Kashmiri, it said.

The commission said it had been unable to identify the culprits despite having looked very hard for substantial evidence, direct or circumstantial, “yet such evidence has not surfaced.”

The commission urged the media to maintain a balance between secrecy and accountability in the conduct of information gathering which should be appropriately readjusted, with the aim of restoring public confidence in all institutions of the state

Family reaction

Hamza Ameer, Correspondent Iran’s Press TV and the brother-in-law of Saleem Shahzad expressed dismay at the lack of progress in the investigation. He said journalists and human rights bodies have also forgotten this issue.

He said the bank accounts and other assets have not been transferred to Shahzad’s legal heirs, who are still waiting for succession certificate. He said Quran Khawani will be held on Thursday (today) at the residence of Saleem Shahzad in Karachi to mark his second death anniversary.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 30th, 2013.

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Reader Comments (11)

  • Imran Hussain
    May 30, 2013 - 10:05AM

    Hum dekhenge
    Lazim hai ke hum bhi dekhenge
    Woh din ke jis ka waada hai
    Jo loh-e-azl pe likha hai
    Hum dekhenge

    Jab zulm-o-sitam ke koh-e-garaan
    Rui ki tarah ud jayenge
    Hum mehkumoon ke paun tale
    Yeh dharti dhad dhad dhadkagi
    Aur ehl-e-hukum ke sar upar
    Jab bijli kad kad kadkegi
    Hum dekhenge

    Recommend

  • RizwanKhan
    May 30, 2013 - 10:32AM

    A black mark on our investigating authorities

    Recommend

  • Khan
    May 30, 2013 - 10:37AM

    Everybody knows who killed him, but “the wings burn” if somebody tries to get near them…..

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  • ahmad
    May 30, 2013 - 10:46AM

    ISI will pay for its crimes…inshallah

    Recommend

  • salim
    May 30, 2013 - 11:16AM

    In his book which came out AFTER he was brutally murdered he clearly says ‘Lal Masjid a cell of Al Qeada”. So who do you think wanted to get rid of him??

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  • AbouttogomissingBaloch
    May 30, 2013 - 11:52AM

    ‘We categorically reject this unfounded claim. it is not only far from facts but is also a deliberate conspiracy to defile the responsible institutions of national security”

    Recommend

  • harkol
    May 30, 2013 - 12:09PM

    Show who actually rules Pakistan. And it isn’t the LAW, Constitution or the Executive.

    Recommend

  • Fareeha
    May 30, 2013 - 12:13PM

    The journalist community should keep the issue alive. He was one of them and embraced shahaadat while working for the country trying to uncover the truth.

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  • Jat
    May 30, 2013 - 4:40PM

    Pakistani media has again meekly surrendered in front of the “agencies”. Where are the protests ?

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  • Unbelievable
    May 30, 2013 - 9:31PM

    Tragedy. However ET and all the other newspapers let this issue fall off the radar and bear some responsibility for not putting sufficient pressure on the govt to follow up. Better late than never.

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  • Peace On Earth
    Jun 3, 2013 - 4:42PM

    I am disappointed that I did not hear about Shahzad and his murder until I read “Pakistan on the Brink” by Ahmed Rashid. In any case, it is clear that the ISI was involved as they have been in the past.

    Perhaps if Pakistanis would wake up and realize the real threat is NOT the West or India but in fact Islamic extremists organizations, the ISI, and to some extent the Pakistani military which enjoys 30% of the national budget courtesy of the hard-working, tax-paying Pakistani man and woman, this country would actually get some where.

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