LAHORE - The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan has expressed grief and indignation at the brutal murder of journalist Saleem Shahzad, calling it a vile attempt to muzzle the media and demanding that the government make sure that the murderers are apprehended and prosecuted. The journalist had gone missing in Islamabad on Sunday and his body, showing over a dozen marks of torture, was found on Tuesday. A statement by HRCP said that callous murder of the journalist was a depraved attempt to silence the media. The identity of the perpetrators may only be established through a transparent probe, but the timing and manner of his abduction make it abundantly clear that Shahzad was targeted because of his work as a journalist, while quick disposal of his body and burial strengthens doubts of the involvement of state actors, observed HRCP. The messages that his killers have tried to drive home are as chilling as they are unmistakable. First, that they can go to any length to target anyone who dares speak up, and second, that they have little fear of being caught or punished, said the statement which further stated that fear and the consequent self-censorship and the impunity the killing induces for the journalists and those who seek to silence them, respectively, were not hard to imagine in the circumstances. The HRCP has viewed that Pakistan has long been an acutely unsafe environment for journalists, with the highest number of journalists killed in any country in 2010, and almost all of these cases remain unprosecuted and unpunished. The risks for the journalists are extenuated when they fear harm from agents of the state itself, as has been alleged in Shahzads case. The HRCP believes that for the state to retain its state of denial in the face of such stark threats and violence against journalists is a scandal of the highest order and amounts to complicity. It said that governments action in the next few days would determine how serious it was in its claims of doing everything to ensure freedom of the media. Demanding a professional and scientific investigation to apprehend the killers, the HRCP said that impunity for Shahzads murderers was a virtual death warrant for any journalist who crosses anyone.