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Shahzad’s Killing: Thirty-five Organisations Appeal for Justice as Pakistan Mourns

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State Department called on the Pakistani government to investigate the murder of an investigative journalist.
Several organizations including The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) stands with journalists in Pakistan as Pakistan has been declared the most dangerous place for journalists.

ISLAMABAD: The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) stands with journalists in Pakistan as they hold two days of mourning for their colleague Syed Saleem Shahzad and prepare for country-wide rallies on June 3 to express their outrage at his murder.

Journalists’ unions affiliated with the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) will hoist black flags and conduct condolence meetings with human rights activists and civil society groups. The body of Shahzad, 40, was found on May 31 at Mandi Bahauddin, about 150km southeast of Islamabad in Punjab province.

Shahzad, a father of three who worked for Asia Times Online and Italian news agency Adnkronos, disappeared in Islamabad about 5.45pm on May 29. A post-mortem noted 15 torture marks on his body, and no bullet wounds. The death was likely caused by a fatal blow to the chest region, according to news reports. As hundreds of people attended Shahzad’s funeral in Karachi on June 1, organizations of journalists and press freedom advocates from around the world issued a joint letter appealing to the Government of Pakistan to quickly implement all appropriate measures to protect media personnel and to prosecute murderers of journalists in Pakistan.

Meanwhile the murder of investigative journalist has been condemned by world nations. In wake of this notice the United States on Wednesday provided more talk as the State Department called on the Pakistani government to investigate the murder of an investigative journalist.

In Washington, addressing journalists, Mark Toner, Deputy Spokesman for the State Department said, “It’s unclear what happened. We’ve called on Pakistani authorities to investigate the circumstances of his death.”Toner told journalists that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton issued a statement late night and explained the delayed reaction from the State Department saying, “We get these things from various bureaus within the Department, and we release them as soon as they’re available.

I’d rather do that than hold them overnight on what is a news event.” “The United States strongly condemns the abduction and killing of reporter Syed Saleem Shahzad,” said Clinton in a State Department statement, adding, “His work reporting on terrorism and intelligence issues in Pakistan brought to light the troubles extremism poses to Pakistan’s stability.”

On the question of if the Secretary or any other state department official made any personal calls to Islamabad, Toner said, “I’m not aware that the Secretary has made any direct calls to her Pakistani counterparts about it.” Dismissing it as one of regular human rights issues, Toner said, “We continue to raise these types of human rights and freedom of the press issues all the time with Pakistani Government officials.”

Input from Agencies

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