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Pakistan PM said to have vowed to reopen journalist murder case

Publication Date : 04-05-2014


Pakistan's Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) on Saturday claimed that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had vowed in March to reopen the murder case of journalist Saleem Shehzad who was found dead after being tortured in 2011, reports stated.

Bob Dietz, coordinator of the US based international non-profit organisation’s Asia Program, said the group had presented its recommendations over dangers being faced by journalists to the prime minister in a high delegation meeting held on March 19.

The meeting was also attended by Federal Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid and writer/journalist Ahmed Rashid.

“Yes, it was one of the recommendations from our long list of suggestions,” said Dietz when asked about PM Sharif’s promise of reopening the case.

“We want him (Prime Minister Sharif) to review this just the way Wali Khan Babar’s case was reviewed,” he added.

Syed Saleem Shehzad, 40, was found dead in Mandi Bahauddin near Islamabad after reportedly writing about links between the Pakistani military and al Qaeda.

He worked for an Italian news agency and an online news site registered in Hong Kong. He went missing after he left his home in the federal capital to take part in a television talk show, but never arrived.

The slain journalist had complained about being threatened by Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency.

“The other day he visited our office and informed us that ISI had threatened him. He told us that if anything happened to him, we should inform the media about the situation and threats,” Ali Dayan Hasan of HRW had said after Shehzad’s death.

It may mentioned that Hamid Mir – senior journalist and TV anchor, who is being treated after escaping an attack on his life in Karachi last month – has also accused the ISI for the attack. He has recorded his statement to the judicial commission being formed on Prime Minister Sharif’s directions.

Dietz expressed annoyance over incompetence of investigative commissions formed in the past to probe murders of Pakistani journalists as none of the inquiries could come with names of the culprits.

Meanwhile, Pakistan’s top 56 editors and journalists in a joint communiqué issued earlier today have urged for unity and alliance within the media ranks. It said the shameful divide between the Pakistani media has not only made journalists more vulnerable to attacks but it was also weakening the struggle for justice, truth and democracy.

“This situation has made the nation a laughing stock in front of the world,” said the statement.


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