KARACHI: The Sindh High Court on Thursday issued a notice to the prosecutor general on an application filed by the National Commission for Human Rights (NCHR) against the order of an antiterrorism court that sent the Nazim Jokhio murder case to a regular court for trial.

The NCHR moved a criminal revision application against the May 25 order of the ATC-XV arguing that the judge had curtailed the right of audience of the applicant on the point of jurisdiction of the case and passed the order without appreciating material facts on record.

After a preliminary hearing, a two-judge bench headed by Justice Mohammad Iqbal Kalhoro in its order stated: “Subject to maintainability of this Criminal Revision application, let notice be issued to the Prosecutor General Sindh for 20.06.2022”.

NCHR counsel Jibran Nasir submitted that the commission had approached the ATC to become an intervener in the case, but the court in its April 29 order ruled that it would first decide the jurisdiction of the case and then pending applications including the one filed by NCHR.

However, he argued that on May 25, the ATC judge declined to take cognizance of the case and returned the charge sheet along with other documents and police papers to the investigating officer with a direction to file the same before the court of a judicial magistrate concerned.

The counsel further submitted that the NCHR had also filed a criminal revision application against the April 29 order of ATC and it was sub-judice before the SHC.

He stated that the applicant was a federal statutory body created under the NCHR Act 2012 for promotion and protection of human rights and as per Section 9, it must exercise its power to intervene in any proceeding involving any allegation of violation of human rights pending before any court.

Therefore, he maintained that NCHR had decided to intervene in the case in question as it was a most brazen abuse of human rights.

He submitted that in the fresh charge sheet, both the PPP lawmakers — Jam Awais and his elder brother Jam Abdul Karim — have been exonerated on the pretext that the victim’s widow had forgiven them.

Advocate Nasir argued that the deceased’s family was subjected to unbearable pressure from the Sindh government and influential accused persons to enter into a compromise.

He alleged that the provincial authorities and the prosecution were facilitating the accused persons and two of them were also lawmakers of PPP.

He argued that the offence came within the definition of terrorism under Section 6 of Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997 and pleaded to set aside the impugned order of the ATC and send the case back to ATC.

Nazim Jokhio was tortured and killed and his body was found at the Malir farmhouse of MPA Awais on Nov 3. The young man had reportedly earned the ire of influential brothers as he resisted their foreign guests from hunting houbara bustard in his village.

On Feb 8, a judicial magistrate had directed the IO file the charge sheet and other papers before the administrative judge of ATCs as he had observed that accused had no other intention or motivation behind their acts but to create insecurity and fear in the public or group of public by committing such an act.

Published in Dawn, May 27th, 2022

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