Pakistan human rights commission urges release of missing journalist

May 31st, 2011 - 7:09 pm ICT by IANS  

Taliban Islamabad, May 31 (IANS/AKI) The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has expressed grave concern over the disappearance of journalist Saleem Shahzad and over reports that say he might have been abducted.

Shahzad, the Islamabad correspondent for Italian news agency AKI and bureau chief of Singapore-based online newspaper Asian Times Online, went missing Sunday after he left his house in Islamabad to take part in a television talk show.

He never reached the office of private TV channel Dunya TV. His car and mobile phone have not been located and his phone is switched off.

Shahzad was scheduled to tell the programme about an article he wrote for the Asia Times Online published May 27 that spoke about possible links between Al Qaeda and officials within the Pakistan Navy.

“The HRCP has serious concern at the disappearance of journalist Saleem Shahzad. Reports that a state agency might have been involved in his disappearance are exceedingly disturbing,” the commission said in a statement.

Media reports suggest that Shahzad’s reporting of a terrorist attack on a navy base in Karachi might have something to do with his abduction.

“Unconfirmed reports suggest that his captors have informed Shahzad’s friends and family through anonymous calls that he would be released soon,” the HRCP said.

The commission urged the government to ensure Shahzad’s safe release.

It also demanded that the individuals who have detained him be brought to justice.

In November 2006, Shahzad was kidnapped by the Taliban in Afghanistan’s Helmand province. He and another Pakistani journalist were held for a week on suspicion of spying and put on trial and released unharmed after they confessed to wrongdoing.


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