KARACHI: Five suspects allegedly involved in the Nazim Jokhio murder case escaped from the premises of Malir courts after the judge recalled their interim pre-arrest bail on Thursday.

Pakistan Peoples Party MPA Jam Awais, his elder brother MNA Jam Abdul Karim along with their servants — Muhammad Saleem Salar, Muhammad Soomar, Ishaque Jokhio, Muhammad Khan Jokhio and Doda Khan alias Dada — have been charged with abducting and torturing to death young Nazim Jokhio who earned the ire of influential for stopping their foreign guests from hunting houbara bustard.

The lawmakers’ five servants had obtained interim pre-arrest bail and on Thursday, the matter came up before Additional District and Sessions Judge (ADJ) Naveed Ahmed Soomro for confirmation of their interim bail or otherwise.

The judge noted: “Since the point of jurisdiction have been decided, though tentatively, thus no discussion on merits can be made since it might prejudice the case of accused persons as well as the learned Magistrate, who has to pass order on 173 of the Criminal Procedure Code report by applying his judicial mind without being prejudiced by this order.”

While disposing of bail applications for want of jurisdiction, the judge ruled that the “accused are present before the court and their bail bond are cancelled and earlier orders dated Nov 22 and 30, 2021 whereby they were granted interim bail, are hereby recalled”.

Witnesses and lawyers told Dawn that all the five suspects, who were present, left the courtroom and easily escaped after their interim bail was recalled, as the police did not make any effort to arrest them.

The investigating officer, Inspector Siraj Lashari, said that since there was no evidence available against these suspects at the moment, thus “no one can be taken into custody in violation of the law and at the whims of the complainant”.

In his order, the judge observed: “Prima facie the evidence available on record showed that the writer of this script/accused have no other intention or motivation behind their acts but to create insecurity and fear in the public or group of public by such act, which act i.e. murder is specified in the sub-clause (a) of sub-clause 2 of the Section 6 of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997.

“The matter is one of a nature, which falls within the definition of terrorism and thus, this court had no jurisdiction to try and decide the instant bail applications,” the order said.

Meanwhile, Judicial Magistrate (Malir) Altaf Hussain directed the IO to submit the final charge sheet in the present case till Jan 17.

The IO informed the magistrate about recall of interim bail of five nominated suspects and said that the scrutiny of the final charge sheet could not be completed without going through the written order passed by the ADJ on the bail pleas.

“The case will have to be transferred to antiterrorism court if any recommendation to this effect is made by the additional district and sessions judge in his written order,” he said.

Therefore, he requested the magistrate to grant more time to go through the order of the ADJ and submit the final charge sheet.

Allowing the request, the magistrate directed the IO to submit the final charge sheet and adjourned the hearing till Jan 17.

Published in Dawn, January 14th, 2022

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