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Appeal to Pakistan Government to Find Missing Journalist

Appeal to Pakistan Government to Find Missing Journalist

May 31, 2011 - The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) urgently appeals to the Government of Pakistan to order its security and police agencies to respond immediately to find a senior journalist who disappeared in Islamabad on May 29.

Syed Saleem Shahzad , the Pakistan bureau chief for Asia Times Online , went missing in the early evening while heading to the office of Dunya TV to record a program.

The IFJ and its affiliate, the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ), hold grave fears for the welfare of Shahzad, who published the first of a two-part investigative series into alleged links between Al-Qaeda and Pakistani naval officials on Asia Times Online on May 26.

“The IFJ is deeply worried for the safety of Syed Saleem Shahzad,” IFJ Asia -Pacific Director Jacqueline Park said.

“We appeal as a matter of urgency for Pakistan ’s Government to do all it can to find Shahzad quickly, and to prove a commitment to reverse Pakistan ’s poor track record in investigating abuses against journalists.”

Dunya staff tried to contact Shahzad by mobile phone about 5.45pm on May 29 but failed to get a response, according to Dawn newspaper.

Shahzad, who is also the author of Inside al-Qaeda and the Taliban: Beyond Bin Laden and 9/11, reported in the article that members of Al-Qaeda conducted the May 22 attack on PNS Mehran naval air station in Karachi .

The article alleges the attack was mainly in response to an internal clampdown on Al-Qaeda affiliates within the Pakistan navy, following failed talks between the navy and Al-Qaeda over the release of naval officials arrested on suspicion of links to the militant group.

The IFJ and the PFUJ demand that Pakistan’s Government and security agencies respond urgently to investigate the circumstances around Shahzad’s disappearance, including any link to the article published on May 26, before the trail goes cold.

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 131 countries

Find the IFJ on Twitter: @ifjasiapacific

Find the IFJ on Facebook here

ENDS

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