Preserve Shahzad's Phone Records: Pak Panel to PTA

M Zulqernain/Lahore
Preserve Shahzad's Phone Records: Pak Panel to PTA
A judicial commission probing the murder of journalist Syed Saleem Shahzad has directed Pakistani authorities to access and preserve records of his communications, including mobile phone calls and email correspondence.

Supreme Court Justice Saqib Nisar-led commission, which began its proceedings at the apex court's Lahore registry yesterday, directed the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority to preserve the records of Shahzad's cellular phone.

It directed the Federal Investigation Agency to access Shahzad's email accounts and present the record to the commission on July 6.

Shahzad was abducted while driving from his house to a TV station in Islamabad on May 29, two days after he alleged in an article that al-Qaeda had infiltrated the Pakistan Navy.

His body, bearing marks of torture, was found the next day in a canal in Punjab province.

Journalists' associations and rights groups alleged intelligence agencies were responsible for the killing, a charge denied by the Inter-Services Intelligence.

The government formed the commission to ascertain the circumstances of Shahzad's death. Shahzad had told colleagues about receiving veiled threats from the ISI.

The other members of the commission, including Federal Shariah Court Chief Justice Agha Rafique Ahmad Khan, the police chiefs of Punjab and Islamabad and Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists president Pervez Shaukat, attended the proceedings yesterday.

The commission, after lengthy deliberations by its members, directed the FIA to access Shahzad's emails and produced them before the commission on July 6, next date of proceedings.

Federal Information Secretary Taimoor Azmat Usman, the secretary of the commission, produced all available record pertaining to Shahzad’s murder at the proceedings.

Usman told the media at the conclusion of yesterday's proceedings that the commission had directed the PTA Chairman and mobile phone companies to preserve the record of calls made through and received on Shahzad's cellular phone.

The commission directed the PTA to ensure that the record of Shahzad's phone was not distorted or erased and to produce the complete record at the next date of hearing.

Usma said the secretariat of the commission had been established in the Islamabad centre of Pakistan Television.

He called on Shahzad's relatives and friends, journalists and the public to contact the commission's secretariat by July 5 if they had any information about the murder.

The commission has directed the police chiefs of Punjab and Islamabad to let the investigation into the case carry on and keep the panel informed about any progress.

PFUJ president Pervez Shaukat told the media that he was satisfied with the proceedings of the commission and admired remarks made by Justice Saqib Nisar during the proceedings.

However, Shaukat did not give details about these remarks. He said with confidence that the commission will achieve the desired results.
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