Amnesty International Calls on Pakistan to Probe Intelligence Agencies as Body of Journalist Found
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(Washington, D.C.) – Any investigation into the abduction and reported death of Pakistani journalist Saleem Shahzad must include the country’s feared security and intelligence agencies, especially the ISI, Amnesty International said today.
The body of Saleem Shahzad, who went missing on Sunday, May 29, was found close to his abandoned car in the northwest of the country, Pakistani media reports say. Reports also suggest that evidence of torture was found on the body.
“Pakistan’s intelligence agencies face serious allegations that they have been involved in the numerous killings of activists, lawyers and journalists,” said Sam Zarifi, Asia-Pacific director at Amnesty International. “Early indications from this case suggest an alarming expansion of the ‘kill and dump’ operations previously seen mostly in the Balochistan province.”
“The Pakistan authorities must hold those responsible to account and protect journalists targeted merely for doing their jobs,” said Zarifi.
Saleem Shahzad had 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.
Since July 2010 Amnesty International has documented the disappearances and killing of at least 100 activists, journalists, lawyers and teachers in Balochistan, with victims’ relatives often blaming the security and intelligence services.
Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with more than 3 million supporters, activists and volunteers in more than 150 countries campaigning for human rights worldwide. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied.