Thirty-five Organisations Appeal for Justice as Pakistan Mourns


The International

Federation of Journalists (IFJ) stands with journalists in Pakistan as

they hold two days of mourning for their colleague Syed Saleem Shahzad and

prepare for country-wide rallies on June 3 to express their outrage at his



Journalists’ unions affiliated with

the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) will hoist black flags and

conduct condolence meetings with human rights activists and civil society



The body of Shahzad, 40, was found

on May 31 at Mandi Bahauddin, about 150km southeast of Islamabad

in Punjab province.


Shahzad, a father of three who worked

for Asia Times Online and Italian

news agency Adnkronos, disappeared in Islamabad

about 5.45pm on May 29.


A post-mortem noted 15 torture marks

on his body, and no bullet wounds. The death was likely caused by a fatal blow

to the chest region, according to news reports.


As hundreds of people

attended Shahzad’s funeral in Karachi on June 1,

organisations of journalists and press freedom advocates from around the world issued

a joint letter appealing to the Government of Pakistan to quickly implement all

appropriate measures to protect media personnel and to prosecute murderers of

journalists in Pakistan. Read the letter here.


The letter to President Asif Ali

Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, signed by the PFUJ and 34 members

of the International Freedom of

Expression Exchange (IFEX), noted that Pakistan’s toll of dead and injured

journalists and media workers placed Pakistan ahead of Iraq and Mexico as the

world’s most dangerous country for journalists.

“We fully appreciate the great difficulties confronting all people in Pakistan at

this time. However, we also know that Pakistan has the resources and

expertise to conduct credible investigations into murders of journalists and to

bring culprits to justice,” the letter said.

The IFJ welcomed reports that an inquiry had been ordered into Shahzad’s

abduction and murder, but continued to stress that all murders of media

personnel must be fully investigated.


Meanwhile, the intelligence arm of

the Pakistan

military, the Directorate of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), made a

statement on June 1 to deny involvement in Shahzad’s disappearance and murder.


An ISI official was quoted by the

Associated Press of Pakistan (APP) as saying allegations of ISI involvement were

“baseless” and “tantamount to unprofessional conduct on the part of the media”.

The ISI would “leave no stone unturned in helping to bring the perpetrators of

this heinous crime to justice”.


Two days before he disappeared, Shahzad

published the first of a two-part investigative series into alleged links

between Al-Qaeda and Pakistani naval officials.


For further

information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific

on +61 2 9333 0919



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