Saleem Shahzad’s killing: Journalists’ protest on 15th
ISLAMABAD: After the government failed to establish a judicial commission to probe murder of Syed Saleem Shahzad, journalists on Friday decided to launch a countrywide protest on June 15.
The decision was taken at a meeting of National Press Club, Pakistan Federation Union of Journalists (PFUJ), and Rawalpindi Islamabad Union of Journalists (RIUJ). It was agreed that journalists from all over the county would be invited to Islamabad for a massive protest in front of the Parliament House on June 15.
Noting that the FIR of Saleem Shahzad’s murder had not been not registered in Islamabad, the meeting regretted that a ‘Fact Finding Peoples Commission’ promised by the government by June 10 to investigate the journalist’s death was also not set up.
Meanwhile Farhatullah Babar, presidential spokesman, told a reference organised by South Asian Free Federation Association (Safma) that the government was considering setting up a unit to keep record of working journalists who faced any kind of threat.
At the reference, a South Asian Media Commission (SAMC), involving media and civil society organisations, was announced to monitor increasing attacks on journalists and defend press freedom in Pakistan. The commission will defend journalists under attack and pursue their cases.
Condemning the murder of Saleem Shahzad, the newly-formed commission said it will work with PFUJ and other media bodies to bring his killers to justice. It supported the demand of PFUJ that an independent inquiry commission headed by a judge of Supreme Court be established to probe the journalist’s death. World media bodies were also asked to send their missions to Pakistan to probe attacks on journalists.
MNA Ayaz Amir said the “custodians were using their powers against anybody” who tries to question their “abuse of authority”. He said US journalists had exposed the abuses committed by their forces in Vietnam, Iraq and other places but no one has been subjected to assault or threats.
“Instead of mending their ways, the forces were issuing press statements telling people and media to show restraint and not highlight facts that show abuse of power.”
For him, the most unfortunate aspect was that the nation was “becoming tolerant towards brutalities and self righteousness”.
Nusrat Javed said like previous cases, the murder of Saleem Shahzad would not be solved, adding that the Punjab police were half-heartedly conducing investigation.
SAMC has also formed a committee to pursue the case of Saleem Shahzad.