A Pakistani police team investigating the murder of journalist Syed Saleem Shahzad has detained a man whose mobile SIM card was allegedly used for communicating with the slain reporter.
Khadim Hussain, 35, was detained during a raid in Srishta Nashaib, 18 km from Layyah in Punjab province, on Friday evening, the Dawn newspaper on Sunday, quoting its sources as saying.
An uncle of Hussain, Ghulam Akbar, said men wearing plainclothes introduced themselves as personnel of Islamabad Police and said the SIM card registered in Hussain's name had been used to communicate with Shahzad.
Akbar said his family was not sure about the identity of the raiding team. They informed the local police, who ordered a general alert in the area.
The raiding police team was intercepted by policemen at a picket on the Multan-Mianwali Road. Sub-Inspector Javed Hussain of Islamabad Police, the leader of the raiding team, lodged a report with local police and formally arrested Hussain under provisions of the Explosives Act and Pakistan Penal Code.
Assistant Superintendent of Islamabad Police, Khalil Ahmed, went to Layyah on Saturday with the record of the case.
Hussain was produced before Magistrate Khuda Yar with the record.
Islamabad Police told the magistrate that a SIM card with
the number 0307-7431354, registered in Hussain's name, was used in the case that pertained to various anti-terrorism sections.
The magistrate awarded "travel remand" of Hussain to Islamabad Police. Hussain denied his involvement in any terrorist act. He said he had never visited Islamabad. He claimed his SIM card was blocked about a year ago and he had got another card issued with the same phone number.
Shahzad was abducted while driving from his house to a TV station in Islamabad on May 29, two days after he alleged in an article that al-Qaeda had infiltrated the Pakistan Navy. His body, bearing marks of torture, was found the next day in a canal in Punjab province.
Journalists' associations and rights groups alleged intelligence agencies were responsible for the killing, a charge denied by the Inter-Services Intelligence.
Shahzad had also told colleagues about receiving veiled threats from the ISI.