Journalists demand formation of JIT chaired by NA speaker to probe Aziz Memon's death

Updated February 17, 2020

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Journalist Aziz Memon's body was recovered from an irrigation waterway in Naushahro Feroze district a day earlier. — Dawn/File
Journalist Aziz Memon's body was recovered from an irrigation waterway in Naushahro Feroze district a day earlier. — Dawn/File

Reporters walked out from the National Assembly on Monday in protest over the alleged murder of journalist Aziz Memon, whose body was recovered from an irrigation waterway in Naushahro Feroze district a day earlier.

After the walkout, Human Rights Minister Shireen Mazari held a meeting with the protesting journalists and later told the House that they had demanded the formation of a joint investigation team (JIT) headed by the speaker to probe Memon's alleged murder. She added that the government supported the journalists' demand.

Mazari's support for the journalists did not sit well with the PPP which is in power in Sindh. PPP lawmaker Raja Pervez Ashraf opposed the proposal, saying that Memon's death was a "provincial matter" and forming a JIT by the National Assembly speaker would amount to interference.

Ashraf lamented that the Sindh chief minister could not even nominate an inspector general of police of his own choice.

The former premier placed the blame on police officials posted in the area, adding that the PPP had condemned the incident. He repeated that the matter was provincial and federal agencies should not be involved.

MQM-P lawmaker Sheikh Salahuddin also criticised the Sindh government and wondered how "a government that could not even protect its MPA, provide security to journalists". Salahuddin was referring to the murder of PPP MPA Shahnaz Ansari in the same district.

He claimed that the slain journalist had recorded a video message before his death, which should be probed.

Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry also backed the journalists' demand and said that Memon had accused the PPP of threatening him.

"This is a serious matter," Chaudhry said. "It should not be politicised."

After a heated debate, the speaker ruled that he will make a decision after consulting the law ministry. The session was then prorogued.

Memon was allegedly strangled to death near Mehrabpur town of Naushahro Feroze district on Sunday.

Hafiz Memon, a brother of the slain journalist, told local media that Aziz had left to cover a story in a nearby village with his camera man, Owais Qureshi, on Sunday morning. Some hours later, his body was found, tied with an electric wire, in an irrigation outlet near the town.

Some months ago, Aziz had released a video message, saying he was receiving threats for his coverage of a news story. Police have said that they were investigating the killing from various angles.