Nazim Jokhio case: family members pardon PPP MPA, servants

September 25, 2022

The legal heirs of Nazim Jokhio, 26-year-old journalist who was allegedly tortured to death at the farmhouse of interned PPP MPA Jam Awais in November last year, informed a sessions court on...

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The legal heirs of Nazim Jokhio, 26-year-old journalist who was allegedly tortured to death at the farmhouse of interned PPP MPA Jam Awais in November last year, informed a sessions court on Saturday that they had pardoned the lawmaker and five of his servants without accepting Diyat (blood money).

Awais, along with his servants/guards -- Mohammad Saleem Salar, Mohammad Doda Khan, Mohammad Soomar, Mohammad Mairaj, Ahmed Khan Shoro, Haider Ali, Niaz Salar and Meer Ali -- faces charges of murdering Jokhio at his farmhouse in Malir.

On Saturday, the case came up before Additional District and Sessions Judge-I (Malir) Faraz Ahmed Chandio for framing charges against the accused. However, the judge once again deferred their indictment over the lawmaker’s no-show in the trial proceedings. The superintendent of the Malir prison submitted a report informing the court that the accused could not be produced due to his high-blood pressure.

The six accused, including the detained MPA, and the legal heirs of the deceased through their lawyer Wazeer Hussain Khoso filed an application under sections 345(2), 345(4) and 345(6) of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), stating that the parties had reached an out-of-court settlement whereby the victim’s family had pardoned the accused without accepting Diyat (blood money) or any other sort of monetary compensation.

The legal heirs included the deceased’s mother Jamiat, wife Shireen Jokhio and her four kids. They said they would have no objection if these accused persons were set free. However, the counsel said the victim’s mother refused to forgive three other accused, Haider Ali, Meer Ali and Niaz Salar.

The judge issued a notice to the state prosecutor to file a reply to the application and sought from Nadra, the station house officer of the Memon Goth police station and the relevant Mukhtiarkar reports about the legal heirs of the deceased. He also called for a notice to be published in newspapers for public knowledge.

Advocate Mazhar Junejo, appearing in the case as a prosecution witness, moved an application under Section 190 of the CrPC, requesting the judge to order the trial of MNA Abdul Kareem, who was discharged by a judicial magistrate. After an initial hearing, the court issued a notice to the other side to respond to the plea by the next hearing.

The court adjourned the hearing until October 15 when it would frame charges against the accused, who were directed to ensure their presence on that date. The court issued a production order for Jam Awais so he could be brought to the court from the prison.

On July 17, a judicial magistrate, while accepting the final charge sheet, had transferred the case to the sessions court for the commencement of the murder trial. He said, “Grounds exist to believe that offence is committed. Therefore, cognizance is taken on the report for the offences under sections 302 (premeditated murder), 201 (causing disappearance of evidence of offence, or giving false information to screen offender), 365 (kidnapping), 506 (criminal intimidation), 109 (abetment) and 34 (common intention) of the Pakistan Penal Code.”

He ruled that the detained MPA and his servants/guards -- Mohammad Saleem Salar, Mohammad Doda Khan, Mohammad Soomar, Mohammad Mairaj, Ahmed Khan Shoro, Haider Ali and Meer Ali — would stand trial. However, the magistrate discharged MNA Abdul Kareem and five other accused — Jamal Ahmed, Abdul Razaque, Muhammad Khan, Muhammad Ishaque and Atta Muhammad — from the case for want of evidence. He observed that they were not nominated in the FIR nor was any evidence found or brought on record during the investigation.

The investigating officer had placed MPA Awais among others in the challan’s Column-II, recommending the court to discharge him from the case for want of evidence. The magistrate said that though the lawmaker was nominated in the FIR and witnesses in their initial statements implicated him in the crime, the IO recommended the court to set him free on the basis of an affidavits given by the complainant as well as the widow of the deceased, forgiving the accused in the name of Allah Almighty.

He said letting an accused off the hook on the basis of the compromise is not in the domain of the investigating officer; rather, it is the jurisdiction of the trial court to accept or reject it. He ruled that the MPA should stand trial for the crime.

The journalist was found dead last year in November at a farmhouse belonging to the PPP MPA. He was allegedly murdered after he posted a video on social media that showed foreigners who had been visiting the Thatta district hunting the houbara bustard. The foreigners were reportedly guests of the PPP lawmakers.



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