Islamabad: The Australian Government condemns the brutal murder of Syed Saleem Shahzad, a journalist and Pakistan Bureau Chief of the Asia Times Online, whose body was found near Islamabad on 31 May.
Shahzad was a distinguished and courageous journalist whose work covered many of the serious challenges facing Pakistani society, including terrorism. He was the author of “Inside al-Qaeda and the Taliban: Beyond bin Laden and 9/11.” His body was found at Mandi Bahauddin after he left his house in Islamabad at 5.45pm to participate in a local television program. According to the police, Shahzad was killed in the early hours of Monday, after being subjected to severe and brutal torture.
I note, and welcome, that Pakistan’s Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has ordered an inquiry into Shehzad’s murder. I urge the Government of Pakistan to leave no stone unturned in finding, arresting and bringing to justice his murderers.
Pakistan has become one of the most dangerous places in the world for journalists. It is vital for the development and continuance of Pakistani democracy that it protects and develops its media, and values the contribution of journalists such as Syed Saleem Shahzad. His death is a serious loss to Pakistan.
For more information, contact:
Australian High Commission
Constitution Ave and Ispahani Rd,
Diplomatic Enclave No. 1, Sector G-5/4, Islamabad
Tel: + +92 51 835 5346
Fax: +9251 282 0112