Pakistan Supreme Court Approves Inquiry into Shahzad’s Murder

The International

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.

 

For further

information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific

on +61 2 9333 0919

 

The IFJ

represents more than 600,000 journalists in 131 countries

 

Find the

IFJ on Twitter: @ifjasiapacific

 

Find the

IFJ on Facebook here