NAWABSHAH: The joint investigation team (JIT) formed in February this year to look into the mysterious death of senior journalist Abdul Aziz Memon announced on Friday that it reached the final conclusion that it was a well-planned murder.

JIT chief Additional Inspector General (AIG) Ghulam Nabi Memon, along with other members — Shaheed Benazirabad DIG Mazhar Nawaz Shaikh and SSP Tanveer Hussain Tunio — and deceased journalist’s brother Abdul Hafeez Memon told a press conference that it was a blind case but the team succeeded in collecting “strong technical and circumstantial evidence” with the help of modern technology and advance investigation methods.

Three suspects — Nazeer Sehto, Ameer Sehto and Farhan Sehto — who were earlier arrested in the case were produced in a court in Kandiaro town on Friday (today) and one of them, Nazeer Sehto, gave his confessional statement before the judge, according to AIG Memon.

The prime suspect, Mushtaq Sehto, and four other alleged accomplices were still at large, said the police officer, explaining that Mushtaq was believed to be the mastermind of the murder.

The body of Aziz Memon — a senior reporter associated with the Kawish daily and Kawish Television Channel (KTN) — was found floating in an irrigation channel in Mehrabpur town of Naushahro Feroze district on Feb 16.

Police initially took it as an accidental death or suicide case but the bereaved family strongly believed that he was murdered, citing the threats he had been receiving from unknown people before his death. The journalist community across the province expressed solidarity with the family and demanded a fair probe into the incident. Civil society organisations also organised a series of protests in different areas of the province in support of the call for a fair probe. Giving in to the mounting pressure, the higher police authorities constituted the JIT which completed its job in several months of hectic efforts.

Giving details of the investigation, the AIG said that after a second post-mortem examination of the body, a “foreign object” was found in the deceased’s nail. Accordingly, blood samples of more than 90 suspects were obtained and sent to labs for DNA analysis.

The DNA report received on Thursday showed that the foreign body matched with the blood sample of Nazeer Sehto. He along with Ameer Sehto and Farhan Sehto was arrested and produced in court where he confessed to his crime. The AIG quoted him as saying that he and the two other suspects had killed Aziz Memon over an enmity.

The JIT chief said that initial interrogation with various suspects helped the team to establish that it was Mushtaq Sehto who was the mastermind of the murder, which was committed under a well-planned conspiracy. “Proper recce was done for two weeks and then the plan was executed,” he said.

He confidently stated that Mushtaq Sehto and four other suspects would be netted soon. The actual motive behind the murder could only be established after their arrest, he added.

He appreciated SSP Tanveer Hussain Tunio and his team for their efficiency and efforts in solving the mystery and also thanked deceased journalist’s brother, Hafeez Memon, the bereaved family and the journalist community for demonstrating patience and reposing trust in the JIT.

Hafeez Memon told the media that he was satisfied with the progress of the case but desperate to know about the motive. He said he still believed that it was linked with his brother’s profession.

There were media reports that Aziz Memon had been receiving threats from leaders of a political party, particularly an influential political figure of Naushahro Feroze district.

Published in Dawn, May 30th, 2020

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