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Journalist Saleem Shahzad found dead in Mandi Bahuddin

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ISLAMABAD: Saleem Shahzad Pakistani journalist has been found dead in Mandi Bahuddin after writing about links between the Pakistani military and al Qaeda, officials said Tuesday. Syed Saleem Shahzad, 40, worked for an Italian news agency and an online news site registered based in Hong Kong Asia Times Online as Pakistan Bureau Chief. He went missing on Sunday after he left his home in the Islamabad to take part in a Dunya television talk show, but never arrived.

Police on Tuesday said they found missing journalist Saleem Shahzad’s car from Head Rasool Mandi Bahuddin. It is reported that he disappeared in wake of his investigative story published at Asia Times Online about PNS Mehran terrorist attack. Where he revealed a deal was been brokered between Taliban and Pakistan Navy before PNS Mehran incident occured. Saleem Shahzad vanished in Islamabad. On Monday late night a Corolla car bearing number plate ACR 085 was found at Father Colony Sarai Almagir near Upper Jehlum.

Inside the car were ID card belonging to Shahzad thus confirming that the car belong to Saleem Shahzad. At the same time a body of an unidentified person was also recovered from Head Rasool Chowki, a police checkpost. The body was said to be of a slightly bearded man, with heavy frame, about five feet nine inches tall, round face, having surgical marks and wearing black trousers light brown colour shirt and a black tie. The dead man was also wearing Bata shoes of size 43. Sources told that the body was handed over to local police, who by declaring the dead body as unclaimed handed it over to Edhi Centre. Relatives visited the police station and now they have identified the dead body. They said it is the body of journalist Saleem Shahzad.

In November 2006, Shahzad was kidnapped by Taliban militants in Afghanistan’s Helmand province, where he was reporting. He and another Pakistani journalist were held for a week on suspicion of spying, ‘tried’ by their captors and released unharmed after they ‘confessed’ to wrongdoing.

According to Dawn.com Ali Dayan Hasan, senior South Asia researcher at Human Rights Watch, said Shahzad had complained about being threatened by Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency. Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani ordered an inquiry into the kidnapping and murder, pledging that the culprits would be “brought to book”.
Input from Agencies

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