The Sindh government on Friday announced the constitution of a nine-member joint investigation team (JIT) to probe the alleged murder of journalist Aziz Memon, whose body was found in an irrigation waterway in Naushahro Feroze district.
According to a notification issued on March 6, almost three weeks after Aziz was found dead, the JIT will be bound to submit its findings within 15 days. It can ask for assistance from member(s) of any agency and department.
The nine-member JIT will be headed by the additional inspector general of police of Hyderabad Range. The team will also include senior superintendents of police of districts Naushahro Feroze and Shaheed Benazirabad as well as a representative of the Intelligence Bureau, who is not below the rank of deputy director. A representative of the Special Branch will also be a part of the JIT.
Dean of Basic Medical Sciences, Liaquat University of Medical and Health Sciences (LUMHS) Jamshoro, Dr Ikramuddin Ujjan, Chairman of Department of Forensic Sciences and Toxicology, LUMHS, Jamshoro Muhammad Akbar Qazi, Senior Research Officer of International Center for Chemical and Biological Sciences, University of Karachi, Shakeel Ahmed and police surgeon in Liaquat University Hospital Hyderabad, Dr Bansidhar will also be part of the JIT.
The JIT, constituted on the recommendations of Sindh Inspector General of Police Mushtaq Ahmed Mahar, has been tasked with exposing the "real motives and culprits involved in such heinous act (sic) [...] and the prayer of the brother of the deceased is addressed on merit in the larger interest of all stakeholders".
Aziz, who was associated with Sindhi TV channel KTN News and Sindhi-language daily Kawish, was found dead in an irrigation waterway in Naushahro Feroze on February 16. He was allegedly strangled to death near Mehrabpur town of Naushahro Feroze district.
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 cameraman, Owais Qureshi. Some hours later, his body was found, tied with an electric wire, in an irrigation outlet near the town.
The 56-year-old journalist often received threats of dire consequences during his 30-year-long career.
Last year, he had received one such threat allegedly from an MNA. After that episode, Mr Memon had left his hometown and moved to Islamabad for some time.
Following the recovery of Aziz's body, journalists had held protests and demanded that a JIT, chaired by the National Assembly speaker, should be formed to probe the suspicious death. The PPP, which is the ruling party in Sindh, had resisted the demands, insisting that Aziz's death was a "provincial matter" and forming a JIT by the National Assembly speaker would amount to interference.