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We reject judicial commission’s report on Saleem Shahzad murder case

United against the Judge-General Alliance

We reject the judicial commission’s report on the Saleem Shahzad murder case, which gives a clean chit to Shahzad’s murderers and instead blames the victim.

Shahzad was abducted while driving from his house to a television station in Islamabad on May 29 last year, two days after he alleged in an article that Al Qaeda had infiltrated the Pakistan Navy. His body, bearing marks of severe torture, was found the next day in a canal near Mandi Bahauddin, a district of Punjab province. Rights groups and journalists’ bodies had alleged that he was killed by the ISI, a charge denied by the spy agency.

The commission has blamed the victim (i.e., Saleem Shahzad in particular and the press in general) for violating responsible and ethical conduct of journalism. It has given a clean chit to the chief suspect, i.e. Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence (spy agency of Pakistan army) despite numerous pieces of evidence and witnesses which clearly point towards the ISI’s role in Saleem Shahzad’s murder. For example read, Ali Dayan Hasan’s (HRW) statement to Saleem Shahzad Inquiry Commission.

The judicial commission’s report is a clear reminder that, contrary to carefully crafted and propagated urban legend, Pakistan’s judiciary remains subservient to the interests and agendas of Pakistan army, and is not independent at all.

In the light of the report, we urge all journalists (individual journalists and journalists and media organizations) to
show unity to forcefully reject the Commission’s Report, and instead demand reconstitution of the commission not led by ISI-backed judges.

In particular, we urge Mir Shakil-ur-Rehman, Najam Sethi, Sherry Rehman, Ejaz Haider, Nasim Zehra, Omar Waraich, Ayesha Tammy Haq, Mosharraf Zaidi, Cyril Almeida, Farahnaz Ispahani, Mohammed Hanif, Abbas Nasir and other senior journalists to take a clear, bold stance against the Judiciary-General alliance in obfuscating Saleem Shahzad’s murder.

The full text of the report

You can download full report (146-pages PDF) of Saleem Shahzad Commission through the following link:
FULL REPORT

Justice Saqib Nisar has raped justice from Mukhtaran Mai case to Saleem Shahzad case

The judicial commission comprised of Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, Justice Agha Rafiq Ahmed Khan, Chief Justice Federal Shariat Court Javed Iqbal, IG Police Binyamin Khan, and Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) President Pervaiz Shaukat. The commission finalised its report in six months after interviews of 41 individuals.

As pejamistri wrote a few months ago, the commission’s chairman Justice Saqib Nisar lacked both integrity and credibility. Apparently, government (Kayani?) appointed him and CJ endorsed him but he is the same pro-rape, Punjabi Lahori judge who wrote one of the worst judgements in Pakistan’s legal history (Mukhtaran Mai case). CJ Iftikhar Chaudhry has already claimed that the issue could be resolved in four days and the ISI said they have no objection on the commission.

Blind Justice

‘Business as usual’ is basically what the judicial commission, formed to investigate slain journalist Saleem Shahzad’s murder case, is saying having spent six months on it but being unable to look at what is staring it in the face. A prominent investigative journalist Saleem Shahzad was abducted last year on May 29 in Islamabad two days after his story on the infiltration of al Qaeda into the Pakistan Navy had been published. On May 31, his tortured dead body was found lying in a canal near Mandi Bahauddin, a district of Punjab. Saleem Shahzad had been working on a story focusing on the Pakistan Army’s alleged ties with militants. He was receiving death threats from the country’s premier spy agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) for his investigation spree as he had confided to his confidants. After his brutal murder, a Judicial Commission was formed, raising hopes that a fair and impartial probe would take place and justice would eventually be served. However, after taking a really long time and wasting precious resources of the national exchequer, it has come up with an inconclusive report, which has no findings at all. It seems that Saleem Shahzad committed self-torture and suicide and later his dead body drove a car to the canal and dumped itself there.

The Judicial Commission has made a mockery of justice. It is crystal clear that the judiciary lacks the courage to question the ISI for its alleged extra-judicial murders and other illegal activities. It is indeed a sad day. Journalists, human rights activists and citizens of Pakistan had high hopes from this Judicial Commission that at last someone would rein in the ISI, which considers itself above the law and that their basic right of freedom of expression as enshrined in the constitution would be protected. Alas! The commission, despite its clear mandate, has failed miserably and disappointed all. Its report is a whitewash. It has given license to the ISI to continue its kill and dump policy against the dissenting voices with impunity across the country. The abduction and killing of daring journalists would continue and their families should expect no justice. What sort of a country are we living in? The security of journalists now seems like a distant dream. According to the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC), during the last year, five out of 16 journalists killed in Pakistan were allegedly abducted and murdered by secret agencies. No wonder our country is considered the most dangerous place for journalists in the world. The Judicial Commission on Saleem Shahzad murder case has only left journalists feeling even more insecure. (Source)

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Abdul Nishapuri

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  • A commission constituted by the government to investigate the circumstances leading to the killing of journalist Syed Salim Shahzad has blamed various ‘belligerents’ involved in the war on terror for his murder.

    But it didn’t single out any person or organisation, who could have killed him, leaving the room open for further probe. In its set of recommendations, the most important was to rein in the Inter-Services Intelligence and Intelligence Bureau and make them accountable within their organisations and to the parliamentary committees concerned.

    According to the executive summary of the commission available with Dawn, “Salim’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,” said the report.

    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 government plans to make the report public on Friday.

    The commission said it had been unable to identify the culprits despite having looked very hard for the kind of substantial evidence/tangible material, direct or circumstantial, which would allow it to single out the culprit from among various suspected quarters. “Yet such evidence has not surfaced,” it said.

    The commission has said the more important agencies (ISI and IB) be made more law-abiding through a legislation, carefully outlining their respective mandates and role; that their interaction with the media be carefully streamlined institutionally and regularly documented.

    Similarly, all the agencies should be made more accountable at three levels: within the agency and before the minister-in-charge, i.e. through internal administrative review; through a parliamentary committee responsible for oversight over their affairs; and through a suitably tailored judicial forum for redressal of grievances against them.

    It said the press should be also made more law-abiding and accountable through the strengthening of institutions mandated by law to deal with legitimate grievances against it.

    The commission also 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.

    Islamabad and Punjab Police should continue to investigate the matter diligently, impartially without any fear or favour by interrogating all those (whosoever) who should in the normal course be interrogated in the present incident.

    The commission asked the competent authority to ensure immediate disbursement of Rs3,000,000 announced by the president of Pakistan on the insistence of the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) as compensation to the widow of Salim Shahzad and said his children should be provided free education at least till graduation.

    Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, the judge of Supreme Court, headed the commission with Justice Agha Rafiq Ahmed Khan, Chief Justice of the Federal Shariat Court, PPO Punjab Javed Iqbal, IG Islamabad Police Binyamin Khan and PFUJ President Pervaiz Shaukat as members.

    The commission held 31 formal meetings and examined 41 witnesses.

    Salim Shahzad was kidnapped on May 29 last year from Islamabad and his body was found near the Head Rasul area in Mandi Bahauddin, about 130km from Islamabad, on May 31.

    http://www.dawn.com/2012/01/13/no-culprit-named-in-report-on-saleem-shahzad-murder.html

  • I am sure Ayesha Tammy Haq and Sherry Rehman will take a bold stance against the Judge-General Alliance. My co-moderators at pkpolitics and Teeth too will write post against this decision.

    However, I agree with Sana and Aisha Aijaz we must also consider the possibility that Saleem Shahzad was not killed by ISI. There is no proof.

    LUBP should refrain from definitive posts without proofs.

  • If journalist and media bodies are not united now, they should be ready for more murders by the military state.

    A sad day for Pakistan’s independently journalists

  • from twitter

    ISI used Qari Ismail, an affiliate of Ilyas Kashmiri group (an informer of Mehr Bokhari of Dunya TV) to kidnap Saleem Shahzad.

    Will Nasim Zehra explain the links between Qari Ismail of Ilyas Kashmiri group and Mehr Bokhari of Dunya TV? Hello Liberals, anyone?

  • according to my information, one of the members of this commission claimed that he saw the change of attitude of the journalistic fraterntiy before and after the formation of commission. He says that those who promised that they will aid the commission in giving details and possibly links, just disappaeared or gave statements to the contrary

  • The report failed to identify killers and left the options open to lower level police investigations. It is surprising that how police at lower level can identify “killers” while a high level commission could not. This naturally is provocation. The question is genuine that how Pakistani journalists can work freely in an atmosphere where ISI and security forces “own” the right to define and protect issues of nation security. It is in the capacity of this “ownership” of national interests that agencies try to suffocate few voices of reason that emerge. I agree that a so high level commission should have found evidence to identify a culprit. But in a society that has suffered a lot at the hands of dictators and corrupt politicians it is not an easy task. It reminds us though that Pakistanis have to work harder to strengthen institutes. For that they have to define clear lines of responsibility and evolve a system of checks the balances.
    To achieve this goal political leaders have to show responsibility. Agencies and bureaucracy is strong in Pakistan because political leaders are corrupt and self-centred. They use these institutes when it suits them and try to level blames when it does not. The political debate that is launched in Pakistan by ruling coalition these days also reflects the same mind-set. In the name of supremacy of parliament government is trying to cover up corruption of individuals in its ranks. At the same time in the name of peoples’ power important issues of national interest are side lined such as Memogate scandal.
    Thanks to many brave journalists and sacrifices of numerous civilian activists Pakistani society has gained lots of freedom. A decade ago no commission would even dare to mention ISI. Now it is talk of the town. This is a positive evolution that can continue with restrain and watchfulness. No government should be allowed to stop this process for short term political gains.

  • Talat Husaain was the most vocal against killing of Saleem Shahzad . He declared rehman malik stupid , incompetent and doubted he even posses a heart after Saleem Shehzad kidnapping and murder .

    Will he kindly ask Judiciary to explain its report ?

  • Judicial Commission formed to probe Saleem Shahzad’s murder
    Islamabad: Accepting the demands of journalists, the government has set up a judicial commission headed by a sitting judge of the Supreme Court Justice Saqib Nisar to probe into the murder of journalist Saleem Shahzad.

    Addressing journalists, who had organised a protest, Information Minister Awan said it was the government”s duty to safeguard the lives of scribes and ensure their well-being.
    The Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ), which had organised a 24-hour dharna outside Parliament, decided to end the protest following Awan”s announcement.

    The protest was visited by parliamentarians, political leaders and workers of almost all political parties and members of civil society and rights groups, who expressed solidarity with journalists. The dharna received extensive coverage in the media, with many TV talk show hosts conducting their programmes at the venue of the protest last night.

    “We have no political agenda. We are here to demand a fair judicial inquiry into the murder,” said PFUJ President Pervaiz Shaukat.

    Shahzad was kidnapped while driving from his home to a TV station in Islamabad on May 29. His body, bearing marks of torture, was found in a canal in Punjab province the following day.

    http://www.hurriyat.com/215/judicial-commission-formed-to-probe-saleem-shahzad%E2%80%99s-murder/

  • Only a fool can not see that judiciary in Pakistan is a wing of Pak aarmy/ISI. All judicial commissions as well as most news anchors/so-called analysts are direct employees of ISI. If you need justice, you must extend a hand to foreign media and the UN. There is no other way to find peace in Pakistan.

  • Guys,
    Instead of outrightly rejecting the report, one has to notice that the report is damning towards the media and its leaders. They say a lot of things, but then they dont come up with necessary information. Saying that we got intimidating telephone calls or from unknown numbers is very vague. It seems Saleem Shehzad was a story for the media, whose cover value diminished just a few days later. I was not so surprised to read statements attributed to the journalists. In the end they just used the commission establishment for their personal ego boosting and nothing else

  • Not only are the journalists being kidnapped, but are also being targeted through bombs and improvised explosive devices.