KARACHI: A sessions court on Friday framed an amended charge against three guards of interned Pakistan Peoples Party lawmaker Jam Awais in the Nazim Jokhio murder case.

MPA Awais along with his six guards has already been indicted for torturing to death 26-year-old Jokhio at his farmhouse and concealing evidence in November 2021.

On Tuesday, Additional District and Sessions Judge (Malir) Faraz Ahmed Chandio indicted Muhammad Soomar Salar, Doda Khan alias Dada and Niaz Salar for kidnapping Jokhio before his murder.

Soomar Salar and Khan, who were present on bail, denied the allegation and opted to contest the case. However, accused Niaz Salari, who is purportedly absconding, failed to appear in court.

The judge summoned the prosecution witnesses to record their testimonies against the accused on the next date and fixed the matter for Jan 12.

MPA Jam Awais and other accused have already been indicted for the murder

Two days ago, the state prosecutor had moved an application pleading the court to indict the lawmaker’s three guards under Section 365 of the Pakistan Penal Code for kidnapping the victim before his brutal murder.

The prosecutor had stated that the court had on Dec 10 indicted MPA Awais along with Niaz Salar, Ahmed Shoro, Haider Ali, Meer Ali, Muhammad Soomar Salar and Doda Khan alias Dada for murdering young Jokhio.

However, he pointed out, that the charge of kidnapping the victim before his murder was yet to be framed against Soomar, Dodar Khan and Niaz Salari.

He pleaded to charge them for the offence of kidnapping.

Under the penal code, no out-of-court settlement can be reached in the offence of kidnapping.

The state prosecutor had maintained that the remaining accused including MPA Awais would only face the charge of only premeditated murder.

Under the law, a person facing the ‘premeditated murder’ charge can be pardoned by victim’s legal heirs either by accepting blood money or without it.

Meanwhile, the judge fixed Jan 12 as the date of hearing on the applications filed by victim’s mother Jamiat, brother Afzal Jokhio and widow Shireen seeking validation of their “out-of-court settlement” with lawmaker Awais and co-accused.

Along with their pleas, the trio had also filed affidavits stating that they had pardoned the MPA Awais and others in the name of Almighty “without accepting blood money”.

However, later on Ms Shireen demanded that the lawmaker deposit with the court a collective amount of Rs3,058,955 as the share in the blood money of Nazim Jokhio’s four minor children — Rabia, Sabiha, Zainab and Basit.

On the next date of hearing, the judge would take up an application filed by the National Commission for Human Rights seeking to become an intervener in the murder trial proceedings.

Published in Dawn, December 24th, 2022

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