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March 8, 2018

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Time for apologies over, SC tells anchor

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court (SC) on Wednesday gave anchorperson Dr Shahid Masood until March 12 to submit objections to the joint investigation team (JIT) report laying bogus his claims regarding the Zainab murder case convict.

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Geo News reported On March 1, the JIT had submitted its report to the SC and dismissed all of the anchorperson’s allegations regarding the high-profile case. Addressing Masood in court on Wednesday, Chief Justice (CJ) Saqib Nisar observed that the anchorperson spread sensationalism through his claims. When the anchorperson said he can apologise for the incident, the chief justice remarked that "the time for apology is over. You have to accept at a national forum that you made a mistake."

The apex court also issued a notice to the private news channel where the anchorperson first broadcast his claims. The chief justice remarked that the court will see how to proceed after the anchorperson issues the apology.

Moreover, the chief justice ordered the anchorperson to submit written objections to the JIT report after which the hearing will be held on March 12. During the hearing, the chief justice remarked that the claims "you [anchorperson] made were false", adding that the JIT report revealed the same.

"You claimed you are ready to be hanged if your revelations are untrue, this is why the court took notice. You must be ready to face the legal consequences of your actions," the chief justice observed during the hearing.

Zainab was kidnapped on January 4 in Kasur and found dead five days later from a garbage pile. The post-mortem revealed Zainab had been raped. Later, the authorities succeeded in nabbing the suspect, Imran. He has been sentenced to death by the trial court.

In a TV show on Jan 25, Dr Masood had claimed the convict had links with an influential figure and was part of an international ring. The chief justice had taken notice of the claims and sought a subsequent inquiry by a JIT.

In its report to the apex court, the JIT declared baseless all of the 18 allegations levelled by the anchorperson. The JIT report states that no proof was found of the convict's connection with an influential person or that he was being patronised by a federal minister. It also states that no links of the convict with an international mafia or a serving federal minister were found.

Similarly, no proof was found that the convict could be killed while in police custody or that violent crime/child pornography is common in Kasur.

Moreover, the JIT did not find any truth to Dr Masood's claims that many gangs are involved in violent crime/child pornography in Pakistan or that Imran was an active member of such gangs.

Allegations that the convict's bank accounts were spread throughout Pakistan or that he received payments from abroad for crimes were also proven to be false.

Additionally, claims that Imran sent Zainab’s picture to international viewers before committing the crime, or that the incident was viewed live via the internet, were found to be false, with an observation by the JIT members that no evidence of Imran ever accessing the Dark Web or internet have been found.

Moreover, no proof was found that Dr Masood handed the name of an influential figure linked to the convict to the Supreme Court, nor was there any truth found about the claim that a close friend of the influential figure living abroad communicated information about the role of influential figure in violent crime/child pornography in Pakistan.

The report also reveals that the rejection of the convict's multiple bank accounts had already been issued by the relevant authority.

The JIT, headed by Federal Investigation Agency Director General Bashir Memon, included Intelligence Bureau Joint DG Anwar Ali and Islamabad Police's Assistant Inspector General (Operations) Asmatullah Junejo.

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