Pakistan accused by US over journalist's killing

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The Independent Online

America's top military official has said that Pakistani government officials "sanctioned" the murder of the Pakistani journalist Syed Saleem Shahzad, who was kidnapped in late May and later found dead, bearing the marks of torture.

Admiral Mike Mullen told reporters at the Pentagon that he was "hugely concerned" about the killing. "It was sanctioned by the government," Admiral Mullen said. But the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff was evasive about who exactly he meant.

The comments were prompted by questions about a recent New York Times report that said Obama administration officials had confirmed that Pakistan's most powerful spy agency, the Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) had been responsible for Shahzad's killing. Admiral Mullen did not confirm the ISI's involvement. "I haven't seen anything where I could confirm that."

Since the journalist disappeared on 29 May, suspicions have fallen on the ISI. Before his death, Shahzad had confided to Human Rights Watch, his former employer, and fellow journalists that he had been threatened by the ISI on multiple occasions in recent years. The ISI denies issuing a threat.