ISI to probe Saleem Shahzad murder -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

ISI to probe Saleem Shahzad murder

Ansar Abbasi

ISLAMABAD: The Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), which is generally seen as the prime suspect in the Saleem Shahzad murder case, has ordered an internal inquiry into this high profile case and is expected to inform the prime minister about its findings next week, it is learnt.

A well informed source in the Prime Minister’s Secretariat confided to The News that the ISI has already informed the government that there is no truth in the claim that the call record of the murdered journalist is missing or has been erased by the ISI. The agency has also informally told the government about initiating its own inquiry to get to the murderers of the journalist.

Meanwhile, the Punjab government spokesman and a senior PML-N leader, Pervez Rashid, also confirmed to The News on Saturday that the call data of Saleem Shahzad is not missing and has already been provided to the Punjab Police for investigation.

According to the Prime Minister’s Secretariat source, the government has been informed by the ISI that the call record of the assassinated journalist is part of the cellular company’s record and has already been obtained by the ISI, which is presently using this vital information for its inquiry.

It is known to all and sundry that it is only the ISI that has access to call records of all mobile users. In any criminal case any information required by police or any other government authority, a request is placed with the ISI to retrieve the record of call log of the concerned mobile user. Sometimes the concerned mobile company also informally shares these details, but officially this is the exclusive domain of the ISI.

Supreme Court Bar Association President Asma Jahangir had claimed on Friday that the call record of Saleem Shahzad for the last 15 days of his life was missing. She also explained that it is the ISI that has access to such record and also takes care of it. Interior Minister Rehman Malik on Saturday also rejected these claims and told newsmen that the call record of Saleem Shahzad is secure.

It is not known as to who fed Asma Jahangir with the wrong information although the media has also been talking of ‘missing call record’ of Saleem Shahzad. Senator Pervez Rashid, who has now confirmed that the Punjab police have got the required call data of the murdered journalist, is on record to have stated in a private TV talk show that the Punjab Police’s investigation into this high profile murder case had met a dead-end after the provincial police were told that the call record was missing. Pervez Rashid has explained that his previous statement was based on misinformation.

Within hours of Asma Jahangir’s statement on the alleged role of ISI in erasing mobile phone data of the slain journalist, Pakistan Army’s media wing, the Inter Services Public Relations came up with a strong denial to this impression and demanded immediate formation of a commission to investigate the murder.

Saleem Shahzad, through an email, had expressed his apprehensions of being caught up by the ISI as he had refused to follow the advice allegedly given by the agency. The ISI, however, has denied that Saleem was issued death threats at any point of time, a statement challenged by a news paper publisher, Hameed Haroon, who through a press release, had disclosed that Saleem had confided to him thrice receiving death threats from the ISI officers.

Source: The News

Date:6/19/2011