ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Bureau Chief of Asia Times Online, Syed Saleem Shazad, has been missing since Sunday evening when he left home to participate in a TV show hosted on a private TV channel.
The journalist community is pointing fingers at intelligence agencies, expressing suspicions they might have picked him up because of his critical stance towards the Army. When contacted by this correspondent, SSP Islamabad Tahir Alam Khan confirmed the report, saying the police had started investigations to ascertain the facts about Shahzad’s disappearance.
Hamza, a close relative of Saleem Shahzad, told The News that Shahzad left his house on Nazimuddin Road, F-8/4, at about 5.30pm on Sunday evening in a Toyota Corolla (registration number ALR-085) to participate in a TV programme scheduled for 6.00pm. He never reached the TV bureau on the Margalla Road and has not contacted his family or friends since. His mobile and car are untraceable.
Shahzad’s relative says his mobile phone was switched off at 5.42pm, as pointed out in data from the mobile phone company. At the time, his location was identified as F-6/2, Margalla Road, close to the TV bureau. Hamza lodged a written complaint with the Margalla police station on Monday morning about the missing Shahzad.
“It is quite astonishing to note that this is happening in Islamabad, which is always on red alert and under tight security,” said a joint statement by the journalist community. “This will be a great question mark for those responsible for our security. We strongly condemn this shameful act by secret hands and demand that authorities investigate and find out who picked up Saleem Shahzad, and take necessary actions for his immediate recovery and release,” the journalist community demanded.