Phone data removal conspicuous -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Phone data removal conspicuous

Umar Cheema

ISLAMABAD: The brutal killing of senior journalist Saleem Shahzad carries the signature of the intelligence agencies, a Punjab government investigation has found, denying the impression that the murder had been committed by any militant group.

These findings would be recorded once the judicial commission is set up by the Supreme Court, sources privy to the situation said.

The disclosure in this respect coincides with the Friday statement of the lawyer of Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) and the President of the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA), Asma Jehangir, who alleged the role of ISI in erasing mobile phone data of the slain journalist.

Pakistan Army’s media wing, the Inter Services Public Relations, however, strongly denied this impression and demanded immediate formation of a commission to investigate the murder.

According to the sources privy to the Punjab government’s investigation, it has been established through the method of torture and other such evidence after the murder that the killing appears to have been committed by some intelligence agency of the country.

As to which agency specifically did this crime can’t be precisely established without the help of the federal government, the source said.

Explaining the point further, the source said that the investigation starts from the “last-seen evidence” that has to be collected by the Islamabad police. Likewise, the slain journalist’s mobile data has been erased that should also be investigated by the federal government.

Responding to a question, the source said although the role in murder appears to be there, the agency involved in this crime was not found indulging in exercise of haphazard burial.

“The investigation did not find any agency’s role after Saleem Shahzad’s dead body was dumped into the canal close to Sara-i-Alamgir.” The body was pulled out from a net installed in the canal near Rasool Barrage. The pictures were taken and burial done as per routine and without any pressure from an intelligence agency.

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 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:6/18/2011