SIALKOT: The Begowala police inserted on Tuesday the anti-terrorism act section to the murder case of the journalist of Sambrial, who was gunned down allegedly by a union council chairman of the ruling PML-N one week ago.

Sialkot District Police Officer (DPO) Asad Sarfraz Khan told reporters on Tuesday the murder case of journalist Zeeshan Ashraf Butt would be heard by the anti-terrorism court in Gujranwala.

Last week, the journalist of Daily Nawa-i-Waqt was killed by Begowala Union Council Chairman Imran Aslam Cheema when Zeeshan Butt asked him some queries while working on an assignment. Cheema is at large.

The DPO said three special police teams, led by Investigation Superintendent of Police (SP) Amjad Javaid Qureshi, the deputy SP (CIA) and DSPs of Sialkot and Sambrial, were raiding places to arrest Cheema.The DPO also assured the family of the deceased journalist about the provision of justice, besides taking action against the negligent police officials. Audio clips of the last telephone calls of the deceased journalist are making rounds where he is talking to the district council chairman telling about threats hurled at him by Cheema.

The Sialkot police are facing criticism from journalists for their failure to arrest the killer.

Slain journalist’s family also expressed concern over delay in the arrest of the nominated accused in the murder case.

The family appealed to Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif to provide them justice besides directing Sialkot police officials to ensure early arrest of the accused.

Zeeshan’s father Muhammad Ashraf Butt told reporters the police had also taken the mobile phone of Zeeshan into custody.

He said the phone calls record revealed that Zeeshan first called Emergency 15 and sought police help to save his life from Cheema who was threatening him with consequences. Later, he called the station house officer of Sambrial police and informed him about the threats but the police took the matter very lightly.

Later, Zeeshan Butt also called Hina Arshad Warraich, District Council chairperson, and said to her: “Madam, I’m Zeeshan Ashraf Butt, correspondent of Daily Nawa-i-Waqt at Sambrial. I’d come to the Begowala union council to seek details of some newly imposed taxes on shopkeepers but UC chairman Imran Aslam Cheema wants to kill me ...”. His sentence remained incomplete forever when gunshots were heard and Zeeshan Butt fell silent.

The family also demanded that Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif take action against the officials of Rescue 15 and the Sambrial SHO for their failure to reach the scene and save Zeeshan’s life.

The Sialkot Press Club, in a meeting on Tuesday, condemned the murder of their colleague and demanded action against the accused killer.

VISIT: Sialkot General Officer Commanding Maj-Gen Muhammad Raza Jalil visited the Sialkot Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) on Tuesday and discussed the matters of mutual interests with exporters.

SCCI officials gave a briefing to the visitor about their achievements and challenges, saying that Sialkot exporters were strengthening the national economy by earning foreign exchange to the tune of $2 billion annually.

Published in Dawn, April 4th, 2018