Pakistani PM orders inquiry into journalist murder

15:21, June 01, 2011      

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Pakistani Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani has expressed his "deep grief and sorrow" over the mysterious murder of a senior Pakistani journalist and ordered an immediate inquiry into his kidnapping and murder, officials said Wednesday.

Syed Saleem Shahzad, the Pakistan Bureau Chief for Asia Times Online who went missing in Islamabad on Sunday evening, was found dead in Punjab province on Tuesday, police said.

Shahzad, who has been writing for Hong Kong-based Asia Times Online for nearly 10 years, failed to show up for a scheduled appearance on a television talk show in the capital Islamabad.

Police reported that his body was found in a canal in Mandi Bahauddin in Punjab province about 150 kilometers southeast of Islamabad and about 10 kilometers from where his car was found. They said that his body bore marks of torture.

Earlier, the International Federation of Journalists released a statement saying it "urgently appeals to the Government of Pakistan to order its security and police agencies to respond."

The prime minister took strong note of the incident and assured that the culprits would be brought to book at every cost, a statement from the PM office said.

The present government strongly believes in the freedom of expression and considers freedom of media as an essential ingredient to strengthen democratic values and culture, said officials from PM office.

International media bodies and rights groups have also called for investigation into the murder of the journalist.

No group claimed responsibility for the journalist murder and the Amnesty International urged the government to hold inquiry into the gruesome killing of the journalist, who had been writing on Taliban and al-Qaida.

Saleem Shahzad published an article on May 27 reporting on a terrorist attack at a Pakistan Naval base, and alleging links between al-Qaida and Pakistan Naval officials.

Source: Xinhua
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