The stage is set for PPP lawmakers’ clean exit from Jokhio murder case – Reuters

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• IO files final indictment with prosecutor for review
• Claims that no evidence was found against MPA Awais, MNA Karim

CARACHI: Police on Wednesday excluded from the list of defendants the names of two incumbent MPs of the Pakistan People’s Party – Jam Awais Bijar and Jam Abdul Karim Bijar – in the high-profile murder case of Nazim Jokhio.

The investigator in charge of the case, Inspector Siraj Lashari, has filed the final indictment with the Special Prosecutor to the Terrorism Courts Administrative Judge for review.

The prosecutor is expected to submit the indictment, which has been in the hands of Attorney General Faiz Shah for lack of scrutiny since February 8, to the ATC administrative judge on Thursday (today), officials told Dawn judiciaries and prosecutors.

In the final indictment, IO Lashari placed the names of MPA Jam Awais, his brother MNA Jam Abdul Karim and their servants – Muhammad Saleem, Muhammad Doda Khan, Muhammad Soomar, Abdul Razzaq and Jamal Ahmed alias Wahid ( who are all out on bail), Muhammad Meraj and Muhammad Khan (who are in custody) and Muhammad Ishaq, Ahmed Khan Atta Muhammad and Zahid Ali—in column II with “blue ink”.

“Placing the names of any suspects in Column II with blue ink signifies that the IO has recommended that the court discharge him from the case due to lack of evidence,” the senior attorney explained. Shaukat Hayat.

“However, it is not mandatory for the judge to agree with the opinion of the IO,” he said, clarifying that “the judge has the power to charge the suspect(s) whose discharge has been recommended by the IO”.

MPA Jam Awais is currently in custody, while Jam Karim is out on bail.

The OI has placed a suspect, Niaz Salar, believed to be a servant of lawmakers, in Column II in red ink, meaning he is on the run.

Three murder charges

IO Lashari told Dawn that he indicted three lawmakers’ guards – Haider Ali, Meer Ali and Niaz Salari – in the Nazim Jokhio murder case, covering up evidence of the offense and intimidating his family and terrorism.

He said the trio quarreled with the victim over the issue of preventing foreign guests of PPP lawmakers from hunting the houbara bustard.

The OI mentioned that it received the victim’s autopsy report performed at Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Center, other chemical analysis reports performed at Sindh Forensic DNA and Serology Laboratory, University of Karachi.

He added that other physical evidence including two bloodstained sheets of wood, two clubs used in the offense and two quilts were also recovered from the farm guard room.

He added that the electronic devices including the digital video recorder (DVR), some burnt items including the victim’s cell phones were also recovered and their forensic analysis reports had been received from the Pakistan Forensic Science Agency, Lahore (PFSA).

He told Dawn that the victim’s widow, Shirin, had already filed an affidavit with the High Court of Sindh, in which she allegedly pardoned all named suspects, including the lawmaker brothers of the PPP.

“Neither the plaintiff Afzal Jokhio nor any witnesses had recorded their statements under article 161 of the criminal procedure code, except for three suspects, who were charged,” he said.

“In their statements under Article 161 of the CPRC, suspects Haider Ali, Meer Ali and Niaz Salar revealed that they fought with Nazim Jokhio and killed him after arguing with the foreign guests of the legislator at the houbara bustard hunting,” he added.

He explained that Niaz Salar’s role was also significant as he visited the victim’s house and drove him to the MPA Jam Awais farm, where the former’s two guards, Haider Ali and Meer Ali, are beaten and killed Jokhio.

“The motive for the murder is the same as the victim had arrested foreign MPA guests Jam Awais and Jam Abdul Karim. That has not changed,” the OI insisted.

Earlier on February 8, Magistrate (Malir) Altaf Hussain Tunio refused to accept the indictment filed by IO Lashari, observing that the offense allegedly committed by the named suspects amounted to “terrorism”. He ordered the IO to file the indictment with the ATC administrative judge.

Visible influence

Commenting on the exclusion of the two lawmakers, rights activist and lawyer Jibran Nasir said the kind of force and influence used in the case was visible in the government’s actions.

On February 8, a judicial magistrate had observed that, according to the plaintiff’s lawyer, the prosecution’s request to investigate the case further was malicious, he said, adding that the magistrate had stated that the case fell under the Anti-Terrorism Act but that the Attorney General had deliberately delayed the indictment in the ATC.

Recently, Jokhio’s widow released a video statement expressing her helplessness and that she forgave the accused for the sake of her children.

Nazim Jokhio, 26, was found tortured to death at the PPP MPA Jam Awais farm in Malir on November 3 last year. His brother Afzal had named MPA Awais, his elder brother MNA Jam Karim, their retainers and guards for murdering Nazim for resisting the hunt for the houbara bustard by the lawmakers’ Arab guests.

Posted in Dawn, April 14, 2022

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