After 6 months of through investigation, the Ministry for Information and Broadcasting has released the report on the murder of journalist Saleem Shahzad. Shahzad, an investigative journalist who reported for Asia Times Online vanished in May last year from Islamabad. His disappearance was all the more alarming because just days earlier a report was published by him, highlighting the links between the armed forces in Pakistan and Al Qaeda. With the PNS attacks days earlier, the report caused frenzy and fears for Shahzad’s life as it revealed the deep connections between the armed forces of Pakistan and the Al Qaeda. Just two days after his abduction, Shahzad’s tortured body was recovered from Islamabad on
A judicial commission set up to investigate the Saleem Shahzad’s murder, which released its report earlier this week to Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani. And just today the report has been released to the publicvia the Ministry of Information, Pakistan. The minister of Information, Firdous Ashiq Awan was quick to point out that the ‘Killers of the slain journalist could not be traced so far.’
As expected, the report has been quite inconsequential. The word out on the street was that since Shahzad revealed too much, he was ‘taken out’ by the Pakistani authorities. Supported by the statement from Gen. Mike Mullen – the then military leader of the US, ISI – Pakistan’s premiere spy agency, were considered as the chief suspects. The allegations were denied as being ‘baseless’ by the ISI.
Here are the major findings from the judicial commission’s report on Saleem Shahzad:
Murder can be traced to War on Terror:
With Shahzad’s forte being investigative journalism, the report links his murder to war on terror suggestion that his writings were what caused his murder as they could have offended any and all of the parties involved in the war on terror. The motive for murder, therefore, was very clear, though the actors could have been any – from the Pakistani state to Al Qaeda or ‘other’ foreign actors.
Ilyas Kashmiri and subsequent drone strike:
The report suggests that some of the witnesses linked the murder to the drone attack on Ilyas Kashmiri – the mastermind behind the Mumbai attacks.
Compensation for Saleem Shahzad’s life and continued investigation:
The commission insists that the government should provide ‘substantial’ compensation to Saleem Shahzad’s family. The commission also insisted that the authorities should continue their investigation ‘diligently and without fear’ to determine who killed Saleem Shahzad.
Public interest, right to life and recommendations:
The commission report stated that it is in the best interest of the public to know the truth. The murder had endangered the Pakistani citizen’s right to life and freedom of speech. To restore both, the commission recommended that all agencies be made accountable and law abiding, including the ISI. The commission also proposed that interaction with media of the said agencies should be frequently documented.