Commission tells govt to protect threatened journalists

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The Saleem Shahzad murder investigation commission decided on Saturday to keep its proceedings in-camera, while the government was told to provide necessary security to two journalists who were being threatened by police. Some 17 senior journalists attended the proceedings of the commission held here at the Supreme Court buildind, chaired by the commission’s president Justice Mian Saqib Nisar.
A source told Pakistan Today that the commission also summoned Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) Additional Director Shahid Nadeem Baloch, who provided all the relevant data of the phones owned by slain journalist Saleem Shahzad, which was also reviewed by the commission in detail. The commission also sought the CCTV footage of various areas and records of all toll plazas from Islamabad to Mandi Bahauddin and stated that the entire record would be reviewed on technical grounds.
A few journalists recorded their statements before the commission about the Shahzad’s murder, including Mutiullah Jan, who submitted a written statement, said the source, adding that others would record their statements next week. Justice
Around 38 items found by Mandi Bahauddin police from Shahzad’s vehicle were also presented to the commission. They included utility bills and credit cards.
Senior journalists told the commission about threatening they had received and the hindrances being created in the conduct of their professional duties. One journalist said his wife had also received threatening calls.
“The commission also discussed provision of security to journalists. Some journalists told the commission that they were being threatened by police and the administration soon after they had recorded their statements to the inquiry commission set up by the Punjab government. The commission took notice and told the administration to provide them foolproof security. Justice Saqib Nisar said that those journalists who would furnish evidence and facts about the incident would be provided protection,” added the source.
The source said another journalist named Atif Khan provided the commission the police records of the federal capital and Mandi Bahauddin. The commission also asked the journalists to submit to the commission all necessary records/data/footage, if any, that could help the commission in its investigation by next July 15.
Zafar Shaikh, eminent journalist and a close friend of Shahzad’s, said the commission’s proceedings had restored the confidence of the journalists.
Later, briefing reporters on the commission’s proceedings, Information Secretary Taimur Azmat Usman said the investigation officer informed the commission about the sequence of the events.