Federation of Journalists (IFJ) supports the Pakistan Federal Union of
Journalists (PFUJ) in rejecting of the Pakistan Government’s terms for
appointing a judicial commission to investigate the abduction and murder in
late May of journalist Syed Saleem Shahzad.
The Government announced on June 14
that it would appoint the Chief Justice of the Federal Shariat Court, Agha Mohammad
Rafique, to head the commission.
However, the PFUJ insisted the
inquiry must be led by a fully independent Supreme Court justice.
Appointments to the Supreme Court
are made by the President on the recommendation of the court’s Chief Justice,
and are permanent appointments. Justices of the Federal Shariat Court are directly
appointed by the Government on an ad hoc basis for a limited tenure of three
The PFUJ had demanded the Government
set up a commission headed by a Supreme Court judge by June 10. The demand was
supported by the IFJ and other organisations around the world.
“The inquiry into Shahzad’s murder
must be as independent and transparent as possible, and recognised as such by
the wider population. It is therefore necessary that the inquiry be headed by a
Supreme Court justice,” IFJ Asia-Pacific
Director Jacqueline Park said.
The PFUJ, an IFJ affiliate, said journalists
would proceed with a 24-hour sit-in outside the Federal Parliament from 3pm on
June 15, and would boycott national and provincial assemblies for two days. Similar
protests will be held at provincial assemblies in Quetta,
PFUJ president Pervaiz Shaukat told
a press conference on June 14 that the Government was not paying heed to the
demands of journalists for full investigations to bring killers of journalists
to justice and to end the culture of impunity for the murders of media
personnel across all provinces of Pakistan.
PFUJ secretary-general Amin Yousuf
said journalists would only accept a judicial commission headed by a Supreme
Journalists in Pakistan have voiced outrage since the body of
Shahzad was found about 150km southeast of Islamabad on May 31. Shahzad disappeared in Islamabad on May 29, two
days after he published on Asia Times
Online an investigative report into alleged links between Al-Qaeda and
Pakistani naval officials.
At least four more Pakistani journalists
have been reported killed in connection to their work during 2011.
- Asfandyar Khan, of the
daily Akhbar-i-Khyber, died in a bomb
- Nasrullah Afridi, of
Pakistan Television (PTV) and the Urdu daily Mashriq, murdered in targeted car-bomb blast, Peshawar, May 10.
- Wali Khan Babar, of GEO
TV, murdered by unknown gunmen, Karachi,
- Ilyas Nazar, of the
Baloch-language Darwanth, found dead
in Pidarak, Balochistan, January 5, after abduction on December 28.
Following the June 11 twin-blast in Peshawar, trainee reporter
Shafiullah Khan, of The News, is
reported to be in a critical condition in hospital, suffering burns to 70 per
cent of his body.
information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific
on +61 2 9333 0919
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