A local court in Karachi granted another extension to the prosecution on Monday for filing the final charge sheet in the Nazim Jokhio murder case.

Nazim, 27, was found tortured to death at PPP MPA Jam Awais' farmhouse in the outskirts of Karachi’s Malir on November 3 last year. His relatives have accused Awais, his brother, PPP MNA Jam Abdul Karim, and his henchmen of torturing Nazim to death for resisting houbara bustard hunting by the lawmakers' Arab guests and filming them while hunting in the victim's village, Achar Salaar village on the outskirts of Malir.

The matter came up before Judicial Magistrate (Malir) Altaf Hussain on Monday, when the investigating officer (IO) was supposed to submit the final charge sheet against the accused under section 173 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, which necessitates the completion of an investigation and submission of a report without any "unnecessary delay".

The IO, however, sought more time from the court, saying that the final charge sheet was at the prosecution department and yet to be scrutinised by Deputy Public Prosecutor Ahad Malik.

The court accepted his request and granted time until the next hearing on January 25 for the submission of the final charge sheet.

Speaking to Dawn.com, Afzal Jokhio, Nazim's brother and the complainant in the case, said this was the fourth time that the prosecution was granted an extension for the submission of the final charge sheet.

Previous extensions

The prosecution had first sought extension for the challan's submission on December 21 last year, when the IO had submitted an interim charge sheet to the court, nominating 23 suspects.

In the interim charge sheet , the IO had named six detained suspects — PPP MPA Awais and five of his employees, Mehar Ali, Haider Ali, Muhammad Meraj, Jamal Wahid and Abdul Razzaq. He had also charge-sheeted 12 on-the-run suspects, namely PPP MNA Abdul Karim, two foreigner guests of the lawmaker, four of his employees — Niaz Salar, Ahmed Shoro, Atta Muhammad and Zahim — and five of his guards, whose names were not mentioned in the report.

Besides them, five suspects on interim bail — Muhammad Khan Jokhio, Muhammad Ishaq Jokhio, Muhammad Saleem Salar, Dodo Khan and Soomar Salar — had also been charge-sheeted.

The IO had informed the court on the occasion that the final report of the body's postmortem, an histopathology report — which pertains to the diagnosis and study of diseases of tissues — and forensic analysis reports of the DVR footage, Nazim's phone and a universal serial bus (USB) sent to the Federal Investigation Agency were still awaited.

On these grounds, he had requested the judicial magistrate to accept the interim charge sheet and give him 10 more days to submit the final report.

The court had granted another extension for the submission of the final challan on January 10 this year, when the IO had failed to submit the charge sheet. He had told the court that the final charge sheet was at the prosecution department for legal vetting and some more time was required for completing the procedure.

At that, the court directed the IO and the prosecutor to submit the final charge sheet by the next hearing scheduled for January 13.

On January 13, the five suspects on interim bail had escaped from the premises of Malir courts after the judge had recalled their interim pre-arrest bail.

While disposing of their bail applications for want of jurisdiction, Additional District and Sessions Judge (ADJ) Naveed Ahmed Soomro had ruled that the “accused are present before the court and their bail bonds are cancelled and earlier orders dated Nov 22 and 30, 2021 whereby they were granted interim bail, are hereby recalled”.

The IO had then informed Judicial Magistrate Altaf Hussain about the recall of the five suspects' interim bail and maintained 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 an anti-terrorism court if any recommendation to this effect is made by the additional district and sessions judge in his written order,” he had said.

He had 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 had directed the IO to submit the final charge sheet and adjourned the hearing till Jan 17.

Chief secretary urged to ensure filing of final charge sheet

A day ago, Leader of the Opposition in the Sindh Assembly Haleem Adil Sheikh alleged that the final charge sheet against two PPP lawmakers and others in the Nazim Jokhio murder case was not being filed because of political influence of the ruling party in the province.

“I want to bring into your attention that the district public prosecutor (DPP) of Malir is trying to give illegal favours to criminals by not giving his final legal view on the challan submitted to him by Investigating Officer Siraj Lashari on January 8 for final legal opinion,” Sheikh wrote in a letter addressed to the Sindh chief secretary.

“Political pressure by the Sindh government on the Malir DPP and ill intentions of the prosecution department are evident from the deliberate delay. The Sindh government wants to save the influential accused in the matter and the Malir DPP, under political pressure, is not giving his legal opinion,” he stated.

“The only conceivable reason behind delaying tactics is that the court should treat the interim challan as the final one since it is incomplete, lacks findings of the IO and does not fix responsibility of the crime on anyone,” he said.

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