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Central & South Asia
Pakistan journalist murder unresolved
Inquiry into Saleem Shahzad's killing in May 2011, widely blamed on intelligence agencies, fails to "identify culprits".
Last Modified: 14 Jan 2012 05:15
Ten journalists were killed in 2011 in Pakistan, making it the most dangerous country for news coverage [EPA]

A government investigation into the death of Pakistani journalist Syed Saleem Shahzad last year has failed to identifiy the killers.

Shahzad was murdered in May 2011 after he reported on alleged al-Qaeda infiltration into Pakistan's navy. "The commission has been unable to identify the culprits behind this incident," the inquiry said in a report made public on
Friday.

Shahzad worked for the Hong Kong-based news website Asia Times and the Italian news agency Adnkronos International.

Before his death, Shahzad said he was facing threats from the Pakistani intelligence agencies. He first went missing from the Pakistani capital, Islamabad, on May 29 last year. Two days later, Shahzad's body, bearing torture marks, was found dumped beside a canal.

The inquiry says Shahzad could have been killed by elements involved in "the war on terror", who were angered by
his writings.

"Saleem's writings probably did, and certainly could have, drawn the ire of all the various belligerents in the War on Terror - the Pakistani state, the non-state actors such as the Taliban and al-Qaeda, and foreign actors," it said.

The commission urged the government to provide compensation to Shahzad's family, and said his murder contributed to a "climate of fear" in Pakistan.

'No progress'

Some rights groups and media organisations have blamed Pakistan's powerful intelligence agency, the Directorate of Inter-Services Intelligence, or ISI, for Shahzad's killing.

Bryan Adams, Asia Director for the UK-based Human Rights Watch, told the Reuters news agency "this commission was created because of allegations of ISI involvement and they've made no progress on that".

Before his death, Shahzad had been investigating alleged ties between the ISI and armed groups.

Shahzad had also reported that an attack on a Pakistani naval base last year was carried out by al-Qaeda after talks failed to secure the release of two navy officials accused of ties to armed groups.

Adams, expressing disappointment with the commission's lack of findings, said "they did not fully reflect information that we think they received and could have been more specific about the institutions responsible".

The ISI rejected allegations it was involved in Shahzad's murder. The agency also denies accusations it violates human rights.

Ten journalists were killed in Pakistan in 2011, most of them murdered, according to the group Reporters Without Borders, making it the most dangerous country in the world for news coverage for the second year running.

Source:
Agencies
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