IG doesn’t know how to probe journalist’s kidnapping, notes court

Published October 29, 2020
Senior journalist Matiullah Jan. — Photo courtesy Facebook
Senior journalist Matiullah Jan. — Photo courtesy Facebook

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected the report of the inspector general of Islamabad police on the kidnapping of senior journalist Matiullah Jan, saying it seemed the IG had no clue how to investigate the case.

A three-judge SC bench headed by Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed ordered IG Mohammad Amir Zulfikar Khan to assign the investigation to some competent police officers or a committee of police officers and submit a comprehensive report to the court concerned.

The Supreme Court had taken up the case relating to the abduction of Mr Jan as well as contempt of court case initiated against him over his tweets.

JIT report says Nadra, FIA, police and Safe City project management are unable to identify kidnappers

Mr Jan was kidnapped from Islamabad in broad daylight on July 21 — a day ahead of the contempt of court hearing by the Supreme Court where the journalist had to appear, but was released in the midnight after a hue and cry raised in the media.

In their report before the Supreme Court, police had stated that every institution concerned had expressed its inability to identify the kidnappers of Mr Jan.

According to the Joint Investigation Team report, Nadra, FIA, Islamabad police and even the multi-billion dollars Safe City project management remained unable to detect the vehicles and persons involved in the journalist’s abduction.

As per the report, Nadra’s system did not identify even a single suspect despite the fact that five of them were not wearing face mask. Nadra claimed that the abductors’ faces were not as clear in CCTV footage as its system required to identify them.

The FIA claimed that it could not forensically trace the identification, while the Safe City management stated that the area from where the journalist had been kidnapped was out of its coverage.

Jehangir Jadoon, the convener of the Journalist Defence Committee, told the court that police were only filling the gaps rather destroying the pieces of evidence.

The chief justice regretted that the IG, who was on leave, was rolling round and did not have any clue who dropped the journalist after he was freed by the kidnappers.

Attorney General Khalid Jawed Khan said he was not satisfied with the police report.

The court postponed further proceedings, saying the issue would be taken up when the court would hear the case again after a month.

In his reply to the contempt charge, the journalist through his counsel Babar Sattar had pleaded before the Supreme Court that the tweet on which he was facing contempt was only meant to convey his disappointment on an order that had been criticised by a large section of society.

“If it is being construed as inappropriately worded and has caused any distress to the honorable judges, the same is regretted,” Matiullah Jan pleaded, adding that any expression of one’s honest and genuine opinion/reaction on a verdict should be encouraged and commended by the judiciary for its candour and verity rather than punished for being contemptuous.

Published in Dawn, October 29th, 2020

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