Civil society wants Sindh govt not to ‘suppress’ justice in Jokhio case

Published April 20, 2022
Members of civil society stage a sit-in outside the Karachi Press Club on Tuesday demanding justice for Nazim Jokhio, who was tortured to death at PPP lawmakers farmhouse last year.— Fahim Siddiqi / White Star
Members of civil society stage a sit-in outside the Karachi Press Club on Tuesday demanding justice for Nazim Jokhio, who was tortured to death at PPP lawmakers farmhouse last year.— Fahim Siddiqi / White Star

KARACHI: Members of civil society and human rights activists staged a peaceful protest demonstration on Tuesday evening to press for justice for young Nazim Jokhio, who was brutally murdered in November 2021.

They converged in front of the Karachi Press Club (KPC) to express their sentiments over the murder and against the government’s attempts to save the influential accused from trial.

Carrying banners and portraits of slain Jokhio, the participants staged a sit-in to express their anger over what they called grave injustice.

Speaking on the occasion, rights activist and lawyer Jibran Nasir said protesters had gathered at the KPC for the reason that all Pakistanis are equal citizens, all have the same rights, be it the right to a fair trial or freedom of protection from torture.

Jibran Nasir says Jokhio was a PPP voter; protesters term trial a test for those who want democracy in country

Pointing at the youngsters who were making videos at the protest, he said that Nazim Jokhio was punished for making a video. He said he was called and threatened as to why he made that video.

“Whose video? The video of a foreigner. Today a narrative is being built about the sovereignty of the nation. Who is free from foreign forces? So he [Nazim] made a video of a foreign guest which hurt the guest’s self esteem, and to appease him the tribal leaders [sardar] of the area tortured him, telling him how he dare protest against their guest and not delete that video. He was turned into a symbol of fear,” he said.

Sindh govt slams for ‘ruining’ investigation

He said the way the Sindh government has taken up this case from the beginning goes to show the decline in our moral values.

“A widow, a mother of four [Shirin Jokhio] seeks justice, and after six months she says she can’t fight this war anymore for her children’s sake. She was putting [MNA] Jam Karim and [his brother MPA] Jam Awais on trial because they were her culprits.

“In any criminal case, the prosecution argues against the accused, but the prosecutor has now become a defence lawyer. The police’s job is to investigate, but they’ve become aider and abettor... They’re letting the accused go, ruining their six-month investigation, based on the statement of that poor woman,” he said.

‘A class war’

Mr Nasir added that Jokhio was the voter of the party that the Jam brothers represent — the Pakistan Peoples Party.

He said he had photographs taken with Local Government Minister Nasir Husain Shah of the PPP. He was happy to have his pictures taken with Benazir Bhutto. The difference is Jokhio was no tribal leader. “This is all a class war.”

Rights activists and member from Sindh of the National Commission for Human Rights (NCHR) Anis Haroon said a poor 27-year-old was killed who was only trying to stop foreigners from killing houbara bustards.

“The case had gone to ATC [antiterrorism court]. The judge must’ve seen something. The family had registered a complaint. It wasn’t an accident. He [Jokhio] was called for talks but he was beaten up and tortured in front of his brother. The next morning his body was found from Jam Awais’s farm.

“The poor woman has four children, how can she stand up [against the accused]! But aren’t we alive to save Sindh? Aren’t we alive to save a system where there’s no rule of law? We want to give the message that we don’t want the rule of power, we want the rule of law. We demand the government of Sindh that it shouldn’t suppress justice,” she said.

Asad Butt of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan said the feudal system in our country is so strong that no oppressed person can raise his voice. Jokhio’s case is no accident. He raised his voice for animals’ rights. He was punished for that.

Karamat Ali of the Pakistan Institute of Labour, Education and Research (Piler) said in the last few weeks there have been incidents of the violation of Constitution. One prime minister and president took steps to violate the Constitution. The most horrific incident happened in the case of Jokhio, who had raised his voice for animal protection.

“The way this case has been handled should be a matter of shame for the Sindh government. You take out the names from the FIR of the two people who were required to obey the law, and threaten the poor widow to move back from her stance — that her husband wasn’t murdered. It’s a test for civil society, for human rights, for those who want democracy in the country. We must win this case.”

Uzma Noorani, Azhar Jamil, Sheema Kermani and others also spoke.

Published in Dawn, April 20th, 2022

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