IFJ Looks Forward to Pakistan Judicial Commission Report

The International

Federation of Journalists (IFJ) welcomes a promise by Pakistan’s

Government to establish a judicial commission headed by a Supreme Court judge,

as demanded by the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) in response to

the murder of Syed Saleem Shahzad last week.


Interior Minister Rehman Malik

informed PFUJ president Pervaiz Shaukat that the Government would ask Chief

Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry to nominate a judge to head the commission.

It is the first time such a body has been established in Pakistan.


The commission, which IFJ affiliate

the PFUJ had demanded be set up by June 10, will also comprise the Deputy

Inspector-General (DIG) of Police (Operations) in Islamabad, an inspector general from Punjab

province, and a PFUJ representative, according to the PFUJ.


“The IFJ commends the commitment of

Pakistan’s leadership to fully investigate the murder of Syed Saleem Shahzad,

and looks forward to seeing the Government present a schedule setting prompt

deadlines for the commission to reports its findings to the public,” IFJ Asia-Pacific Director Jacqueline Park said.


“We expect the commission to provide

concrete recommendations to bring to justice the killers of Shahzad and also

the many other brave journalists murdered in Pakistan, and to send a loud

message to the criminals who shelter under gross impunity that they will no

longer get away with enacting violence against journalists.”


Journalists across Pakistan have expressed their outrage since

Shahzad’s beaten body 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.


The PFUJ’s demands for the

commission were backed by nation-wide protests on June 3, and followed appeals

from the IFJ and other organisations around the world for the Government to act

promptly to investigate the murder of Shahzad and other Pakistani journalists.


Information Minister Firdaus Ashiq

Awan told protesters outside the Parliament in Islamabad that the Government was committed

to protecting media personnel and striving for press freedom.


Protests also held in Karachi, Lahore and Peshawar were led by leaders

of the PFUJ and district unions, and joined by members of the Council of

Pakistan Newspaper Editors (CPNE)

and I.A. Rehman, the secretary-general of the Human Rights Commission of

Pakistan (HRCP).


In Peshawar,

the Khyber Union of Journalists also demanded a full inquiry into the murder of

Nasrullah Khan Afridi, who was killed in a targeted car-bomb blast in Peshawar on May 10. 


In a separate incident, the IFJ

joined the PFUJ in raising concerns about the unexplained detention on June 2 of

Saleem Rehman Afridi, a journalist with PACT Radio, which covers issues in the

Pakistan-Afghanistan border areas.


Afridi, who is not closely related

to Nasrullah Khan Afridi and has worked for PACT Radio in the Bara area of

Khyber Agency for two years, continues to be detained by police at the Sarband

police station in Peshawar after a police raid on a house in Shalober area.


Afridi is being held without an FIR

being registered against him, according to the Tribal Union of Journalists



For further

information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific

on +61 2 9333 0919



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