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My heart doesn’t allow me to pardon Nazim Jokhio’s killers but I fear for my other son’s life, says mother

By Yousuf Katpar
October 29, 2022

“My heart doesn’t allow me to pardon [PPP MPA Jam Awai Awais Bijar and other accused], but I am helpless. I am doing it for the sake of Afzal’s life,” Jamiat Khatoon, mother of slain Nazim Jokhio, said as her eyes welled up.

The grieving woman appeared before a sessions judge on Friday to record her statement vis-à-vis an out-of-court settlement reached with incarcerated Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) MPA Jam Awais and five of his servants facing charges of murdering the local journalist.

On September 25, the legal heirs of the deceased, including his widow and mother, as well as the six accused booked in the case had filed a compromise application in the court, informing it that both parties had patched up after the “intervention of elders”. Afzal Jokhio, the complainant of the case, and Shireen Jokhio, widow of the deceased, have already recorded their statements before the court.

On Friday, Additional District and Sessions Judge-I (Malir) Faraz Ahmed Chandio recorded the statement of Jamiat inside his chamber in the presence of the lawyers representing the parties.

In her statement, the victim’s mother said she had pardoned the six accused – Jam Awais, Muhammad Mairaj, Muhammad Saleem, Muhammad Doda Khan, Muhammad Soomar and Ahmed Khan Shoro – without accepting any Diyat (blood money), according to defence counsel Wazir Hussain Khoso. However, she said she refused to forgive the accused – Meer Ali, Haider Ali and Niaz Salar.

“I have not pardoned…I don’t pardon anyone. My heart doesn’t allow it,” the victim’s mother said while talking to The News, visibly dejected. Seated on a bench along with her son Afzal, she said, “They [accused] have set my heart on fire. They too will suffer. I would not have agreed if it was not for Afzal’s life.”

Khoso said the judge issued directives for depositing the Diyat amount the widow had demanded for her four children with the court’s nazir. In her statement recorded at the previous hearing, Shireen had said she didn’t want blood money for herself but demanded the minors’ share.

The legal heirs and accused had filed the application under sections 345(2), 345(4) and 345(6) of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), stating that the both parties had reached a compromise whereby the victim’s family had pardoned the accused in the name of Allah Almighty.

“It is prayed on behalf of the parties that this honourable court may kindly be pleased to accept the compromise and acquit the applicants in the above crime/case as the legal heirs of the deceased have forgiven the applicants in the name of Almighty Allah and do not want to proceed with the case against them further,” read the plea. The affidavits signed by Shireen and Jamiat were also filed along with the applications.

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.