Federation of Journalists (IFJ) commends the success of the Pakistan Federal
Union of Journalists (PFUJ) in securing an independent judicial commission
headed by a Supreme Court justice to investigate last month’s abduction and
murder in Pakistan
of journalist Syed Saleem Shahzad.
The PFUJ, an IFJ affiliate, reported
late on June 20 that the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Iftikhar Mohammad
Chaudhry, had approved a request from the Government to form the commission.
Justice Mian Saqib Nisar will lead
the inquiry into the disappearance of Shahzad in Islamabad on May 29, and his
murder between then and May 31 when his beaten body was found about 150 km southeast
of the capital.
“The IFJ joins the PFUJ in looking
forward to the prompt appointment of other highly respected individuals alongside
Justice Nisar so that the inquiry team can report its findings as soon as
possible,” IFJ Asia-Pacific Director
Jacqueline Park said.
“We anticipate the Government will
provide all necessary resources to assist the commission to provide strong
recommendations that will ensure Shahzad’s murderers, and all those who commit
violence against journalists in Pakistan,
know that they will not get away with murder.”
On June 16, Information Minister
Firdous Ashiq Awan had informed PFUJ leaders that Justice Nisar would lead a
commission of inquiry. However, the judge quickly clarified that he could not
do so unless nominated by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.
On June 19, the PFUJ filed a
petition with the court, through its counsel Asma Jehangir, seeking the commission’s
constitution. At the direction of the Government, the Ministry of Law and
Justice made a simultaneous application.
Late on June 20, the PFUJ said in a
statement that a two-member bench of the court had approved the constitution of
the commission. The court’s order noted that submissions from all parties had
stressed the imperative for a full investigation into Shahzad's case, which was
a desire widely expressed among other institutions in Pakistan.
PFUJ President Pervaiz Shaukat and
Secretary-General Amin Yousuf welcomed the court’s decision and expressed their
support for a fair and transparent inquiry.
Earlier last week, the PFUJ rejected
a government proposal to appoint the Chief Justice of the Federal Shariat Court to lead the inquiry,
and went ahead on June 15 with protests that drew up to 1000 journalists and
others to an overnight sit-in at the Federal Parliament in Islamabad.
information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific
on +61 2 9333 0919
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