KARACHI: An antiterrorism court on Monday while declaring that the murder of Nazim Jokhio was not an act of ‘terrorism’ sent the case to a sessions court for trial.
The ATC-XV judge, who conducted the trial in the judicial complex inside the central prison, pronounced his order on the charge sheet after hearing arguments from state prosecutor, counsel for complainant Afzal Jokhio, interned PPP lawmaker Jam Awais and his brother Jam Abul Karim and victim’s widow Shireen.
Police had already excluded from the list of accused the names of both the sitting Pakistan Peoples Party lawmakers as the investigating officer had only charge-sheeted their two servants, Haider Ali and Meer Ali, for murdering Nazim Jokhio, intimidating his family and terrorism.
In the 10-page order, the ATC judge wrote in view of the cited case law it is well settled that the order passed by the judicial magistrate (Malir) for returning the case to the investigating officer to be produced before the administrative judge of the antiterrorism courts had no binding effect upon incumbent court, which was at liberty to decide the question of taking cognizance or otherwise without being influenced from the order.
Judge transfers high-profile case against two PPP lawmakers to sessions court for trial
The court order said that the FIR and other evidence collected by the IO, Inspector Siraj Lashari, during investigation transpired that the foreigners being the guests of accused MPA Jam Awais were hunting houbara bustard and victim and his brother stopped them from doing so and the video they made annoyed the accused, who called Nazim at his residence and forced him to delete it from social media and tender an apology to the foreigners, but he refused to do so.
“In revenge thereof Nazimuddin was brutally murdered, which amounts that the alleged incident took place in furtherance of private dispute and vendetta, without any design or purpose for spreading the terrorism, hence does not fall within the definition of terrorism and ambit of Anti-Terrorism Court for trial,” the judge ruled.
“In view of the above discussion, the dispute in between the parties transpires to be in furtherance of personal enmity and private vendetta and there is no any design or purpose for the commission of offence mentioned in clause (b) or (C) of sub-section (1) of section 6 of the Anti-Terrorism Act, therefore, while relying upon the aforesaid case laws, taking cognizance is declined,” the judge wrote in the order while mentioning the Supreme Court’s ruling in a 2020 case.
He returned the charge sheet along with the record of proceedings to the IO directing him to submit the same before an ordinary magisterial court having jurisdiction.
Earlier, state prosecutor Tahira Akhtar Depar argued that the additional district and sessions judge (ADJ) (Malir) while deciding the bail applications of some suspects had wrongly assumed that the case was triable by the ATC.
Subsequently, the judicial magistrate (Malir) concerned not only being influenced by the ADJ’s order did not apply his judicial mind in the circumstances and facts of the case, the prosecutor said.
She stated because of the magistrate’s Feb 8 order the IO was left with no other option but to submit the charge sheet before the ATC, “otherwise the elements of terrorism are missing in the case, which is even supported and reported by the legal opinion of the public prosecutor of the ATCs administrative judge”.
However, the prosecutor argued that the incumbent court was not bound by the JM’s order to take cognizance of the case for trial as the incumbent court shall form an independent view.
She pleaded to return the charge sheet to the IO with direction to submit the same before the ordinary court having jurisdiction to deal it in accordance with law.
Interestingly, Advocate Shabeeh Ishrat Hussain for complainant Afzal Jokhio, Advocate Rehman Ghous for victim’s widow Shireen as well as counsel representing detained MPA Jam Awais, MNA Karim and the IO supported the arguments advanced by the state prosecutor.
Advocates Wazeer Hussain Khoso, Muzaffar Hussain Solangi, Raja Ali Wahid Kanwar, Sagheer Ahmed Abbasi, Barrister Ghulam Mustafa Mahesar and others represented the PPP lawmakers, their guards and servants.
Jokhio was found tortured to death at the farmhouse of the PPP MPA in Malir on Nov 3, 2021.
A case was registered under Section 302 (premeditated murder) and 34 (common intention) of the Pakistan Penal Code at the Memon Goth police station on the complaint of victim’s brother Afzal Jokhio.
Published in Dawn,May 24th, 2022