Nazim Jokhio’s murder was terrorism, declares sessions court

Jamal Khurshid
Friday, Jan 14, 2022

A District Malir additional district and sessions judge on Wednesday recalled the interim pre-arrest bail of five men allegedly involved in the Nazim Jokhio murder case, and ordered that the case fell within the definition of terrorism, due to which the sessions courts had no jurisdiction to try and decide the bail applications.

The five accused escaped from the court premises after their bail pleas were dismissed. Dismissing bail applications of the five accused, the judge observed that the evidence available on record prima facie showed that the suspects had no other intention or motivation behind their acts but to create insecurity and fear in the public and so Jokhio’s murder fell in the ambit of the Section 6 of the Anti-Terrorism Act.

Mohammad Saleem, Ishaque Jokhio, Mohammad Khan Jokhio, Mohammad Soomar and Doda Khan had filed bail applications for confirmation of their interim pre-arrest bail in the murder case.

According to the prosecution, the complainant, Afzal Jokhio, had stated that his brother Nazimuddin Jokhio made a video of foreigners hunting houbara bustards in his village and released the video on social media.

The complainant alleged that his brother was called by MPA Jam Owais on the night at his farmhouse where he was tortured to death. The defence side submitted that there was no specific role of the suspects in the FIR that was recorded after 15 days of delay and so their bail applications should be confirmed. It also opposed the complainant counsel’s arguments with regard to the transfer of the trial to an anti-terrorism court (ATC).

A deputy district public prosecutor submitted that Saleem had brought the deceased from his house to the place of the murder and he was the one who informed the complainant about his brother’s death. He submitted that the suspects knew about the death of Nazim but kept mum and did not inform police, which was destruction of evidence.

A counsel for the complainant filed primary objections, stating that an ATC should try the accused in the case since the murder was a terrorist incident. He maintained that the sessions courts may dismiss the bail applications if it concluded that the matter pertained to an anti-terrorism court.

He submitted that the deceased had no enmity with the foreigners, Jam brothers or any of the accused but he was killed because of his stance on his land and feudalism.

He also informed the court that there was pressure on the family of the deceased who were looking for justice and the main accused had left the country with the connivance of the state machinery. He added that there was little hope that a fair investigation would be carried out.

After hearing the arguments of the counsels, the sessions court noted that there were certain facts that had not been denied by the either parties such as there was no previous enmity between Nazim and any of the accused, and the deceased had streamed a live video on Facebook complaining about the closure of a road of his village due to some foreigners busy in hunting. The court observed that the deceased made other videos regarding receipt of threats at later stage on the account of his first video. He also sent a voice message to his friend Mazhar Junejo wherein he clearly mentioned that he had been called by Jam Abdul Kareem and was receiving threats.

The judge observed that it was absolutely clear that there was no personal grudge or enmity involved in the case. The court said the prime factor was exercise of fundamental rights by a person whereby he, when restrained by some foreigners, while going to his village, by way of blocking the road, raised his voice by making a live video on Facebook without knowing that those foreigners were special guests of Jam Abdul Kareem and others.

The court observed that sharing that video resulted in death threats to the deceased, which substantially came on record by the deceased himself through his last recorded video and audio Whatsapp message to Junejo.

According to the court, the collected evidence also showed that the deceased was initially asked to delete the video at the Jam House, which he refused, and thereafter he was asked to seek pardon for his act of filming the foreigner but he refused to do that as well, after which he was killed with a hard and blunt object.

The judge, however, observed that there was no ocular account as to how, in what manner and exactly at what time the deceased was killed but it was an admitted position that he had died inside the farmhouse owned by the Jams on the directives of Jam Abdul Kareem and his brother.

The court said the murder was a result of psyche of creating terror and insecurity in the public or a section of community. It added that facts did not corroborate the claim of the deputy district public prosecutor and defence counsel that the murder took place due to some personal vendetta. It ruled that the matter fell within the definition of terrorism and thus it had no jurisdiction to try and decide the instant bail applications.

The court ordered that since the point of jurisdiction of the case had been decided, no discussion on merit could be made on the bail applications.

The court disposed of bail applications and recalled the interim pre-arrest bail of the accused who later escaped from the court premises.