Stage set for PPP lawmakers’ clean exit from Jokhio murder case

Published April 14, 2022
This combination of photos shows Pakistan Peoples Party lawmakers — Jam Awais Bijar (L) and Jam Abdul Karim Bijar. — Photos via Twitter/National Assembly website
This combination of photos shows Pakistan Peoples Party lawmakers — Jam Awais Bijar (L) and Jam Abdul Karim Bijar. — Photos via Twitter/National Assembly website

• IO files final charge sheet with prosecutor for scrutiny
• Claims no evidence found against MPA Awais, MNA Karim

KARACHI: Police on Wednesday excluded from the list of accused the names of two sitting Pakistan Peoples Party lawmakers — Jam Awais Bijar and Jam Abdul Karim Bijar — in the high-profile murder case of Nazim Jokhio.

The investigating officer of the case, Inspector Siraj Lashari, filed the final charge sheet with the special public prosecutor of the administrative judge of the antiterrorism courts for its scrutiny.

The prosecutor is expected to submit the charge sheet, which was lying with Prosecutor General Faiz Shah for want of scrutiny since Feb 8, to the administrative judge of the ATC on Thursday (today), judicial and prosecution officials told Dawn.

In the final charge sheet, IO Lashari placed names of MPA Jam Awais, his brother MNA Jam Abdul Karim and their servants — Muhammad Saleem, Muhammad Doda Khan, Muhammad Soomar, Abdul Razzaq and Jamal Ahmed alias Wahid (who are all out on bail), Muhammad Meraj and Muhammad Khan (who are in judicial custody) and Muhammad Ishaq, Ahmed Khan Atta Muhammad and Zahid Ali — in the column-II with ‘blue ink’.

“Placing any suspect(s) names in the column-II with blue ink, means the IO has recommended to the court to discharge him/her from the case due to lack of evidence,” explained senior lawyer Shaukat Hayat.

“However, it is not binding on the judge to agree with the opinion of the IO”, he said, making it clear that “the judge has the powers to charge-sheet those suspect(s) who have been recommended to be discharged by the IO”.

MPA Jam Awais is currently in judicial custody, while Jam Karim is on bail.

The IO placed one suspect, Niaz Salar, said to be a servant of the lawmakers, in the column-II with red ink, which means he is absconding.

Three chargesheeted for murder

IO Lashari told Dawn that he had chargesheeted three guards of the lawmakers — Haider Ali, Meer Ali and Niaz Salari — in the case for murdering Nazim Jokhio, concealing the evidence of offence and intimidating his family and terrorism.

He said that the trio had quarrelled with the victim over the issue of stopping the foreigner guests of the PPP lawmakers from hunting houbara bustard.

The IO mentioned that he had received the post-mortem report of the victim conducted at the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre, other reports of chemical analysis conducted at the Sindh Forensic DNA and Serology Laboratory of the University of Karachi.

He added that other material evidence, including two blood-stained wooden sheets, two clubs used in the offence and two quilts were also recovered from the guard’s room at the farmhouse.

He added that the electronic devices, including Digital Video Recorder (DVR), some burnt articles, including cell phones of the victim, were also recovered and their forensic analysis reports had been received from the Pakistan Forensic Science Agency, Lahore (PFSA).

He told Dawn that the victim’s widow, Shirin, had already filed an affidavit with the Sindh High Court, wherein she had purportedly pardoned all the nominated suspects, including the PPP lawmaker brothers.

“Neither the complainant Afzal Jokhio, nor any witness had recorded their statements under Section 161 of the criminal procedure code, except three suspects, who have been chargesheeted,” he said.

“In their statements under Section 161 CrPC the suspects Haider Ali, Meer Ali and Niaz Salar had disclosed to have fought with Nazim Jokhio and killed him after he quarrelled with the lawmakers’ foreigner guests over hunting of houbara bustard,” he added.

He explained that Niaz Salar’s role was also prominent since had visited the victim’s house and driven him to the farmhouse of the MPA Jam Awais, where the former’s two guards Haider Ali and Meer Ali fought and killed Jokhio.

“The motive of the murder is the same that the victim had stopped the foreign guests of the MPA Jam Awais and Jam Abdul Karim. It has not changed,” insisted the IO.

Earlier on Feb 8, Judicial Magistrate (Malir) Altaf Hussain Tunio had refused to accept the charge sheet filed by IO Lashari observing that the offence allegedly committed by the nominated suspects fell within the ambit of ‘terrorism’. He directed the IO to submit the charge sheet with the administrative judge of the ATCs.

Visible influence

Commenting on the exclusion of the two lawmakers, rights activist and lawyer Jibran Nasir said the kind of strength and influence being used in the case was visible from the actions of the government.

On Feb 8, a judicial magistrate had observed that according to the complainant’s counsel the prosecution’s demand for further inquiry in the case was malicious, he said, adding that the magistrate had declared that the case fell within the ambit of the antiterrorism law but the Prosecutor General had deliberately delayed the charge sheet in ATC.

Recently, Jokhio’s widow released a video statement expressing her helplessness and that she forgave the accused for the sake of her children.

Nazim Jokhio, 26, was found tortured to death at the farmhouse of PPP MPA Jam Awais in Malir on November 3 last year. His brother Afzal had nominated MPA Awais, his elder brother MNA Jam Karim, their servants and guards for murdering Nazim for resisting houbara bustard hunting by the lawmakers’ Arab guests.

Published in Dawn, April 14th, 2022

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