"Give us proof ac­counts': SC forms new JIT to in­ves­ti­gate an­chor's claims about sus­pect in Zainab case

The Miracle - - Pakistan Special - Source:dawn.com/

The Supreme Court on Sun­day formed a new joint in­ves­ti­ga­tion team (JIT) to probe the claims made by tele­vi­sion an­chor Dr Shahid Ma­sood about the sus­pect in Zainab Amin’s rape and mur­der case. Chief Jus­tice Mian Saqib Nisar gave the or­der for the JIT while pre­sid­ing over the three-mem­ber apex bench con­duct­ing a suo motu hear­ing into the Zainab case at the SC’s La­hore reg­istry. The chief jus­tice or­dered Ma­sood, who was present in court, to ap­pear be­fore the newly formed JIT — which will be led by di­rec­tor gen­eral of the Fed­eral In­ves­ti­ga­tion Agency (FIA), Bashir Ahmed — and present ev­i­dence to back his claims. The an­chor­per­son had claimed dur­ing a late night show that Zainab’s sus­pected rapist and mur­derer was a mem­ber of a pornog­ra­phy gang, which also in­cludes a Pun­jab min­is­ter. Dur­ing the pre­vi­ous hear­ing of the case, Ma­sood had also told the court that the sus­pect has 37 for­eign ac­counts. His claims about the bank ac­counts, how­ever, were re­jected by the State Bank of Pak­istan (SBP) in its re­port to the JIT that was formed ear­lier by the Pun­jab govern­ment to probe the rape and mur­der of Zainab. “Do not talk about un­re­lated mat­ters; give us proof of the bank ac­counts,” the chief jus­tice told the an­chor on Sun­day. “If the state­ments you have made turn out to be true, we will give you the medal for num­ber one jour­nal­ist.” “If your news turns out to be un­true, [then] you can­not even imag­ine what will hap­pen,” the chief jus­tice warned. Dur­ing the hear­ing, Ma­sood re­quested time from the court to al­low him to com­plete what he wished to say re­gard­ing the case. He went on to claim that Zainab was gang raped, adding that only one crim­i­nal had been ar­rested. “They are try­ing to pro­tect the gang that they have nur­tured,” he added. “Are you aware that th­ese al­le­ga­tions can change the di­rec­tion of the in­ves­ti­ga­tions?” the chief jus­tice asked the an­chor. The court told the an­chor that they could or­der his name to be put on the Exit Con­trol List, say­ing that he would have to ap­pear be­fore the JIT formed by the court. The chief jus­tice clar­i­fied that the Bashir Ahmed-led JIT would op­er­ate sep­a­rately from the one formed ear­lier by the Pun­jab govern­ment. “The Mo­ham­mad Idrees-led JIT will only in­ves­ti­gate the mur­der case,” the chief jus­tice said, adding that the new JIT would fo­cus on Ma­sood’s al­le­ga­tions. The court or­dered that in­ves­ti­ga­tions into the case should be com­pleted as soon as pos­si­ble and a chal­lan should be filed. Pros­e­cu­tor Gen­eral Pun­jab Ehtisham Qadir was asked to over­see the fil­ing of the chal­lan. Zainab’s fa­ther barred from ad­dress­ing me-

dia. Dur­ing the hear­ing, the court barred Muham­mad Amin ─ the fa­ther of six-yearold Zainab ─ and his lawyer from hold­ing fur­ther press con­fer­ences. Zainab’s par­ents had ar­rived at the SC shortly be­fore the bench be­gan the hear­ing. Welling-up, Amin told the court that the sus­pect should be se­verely pun­ished so that no such crime is com­mit­ted ever again. The chief jus­tice asked him to have a seat be­fore turn­ing to Dr Muham­mad Ashraf Tahir, di­rec­tor gen­eral of the Pun­jab Foren­sic Sci­ence Agency (PFSA), and or­der­ing the use of mod­ern tech­nol­ogy and de­vices to quickly com­pelete in­ves­ti­ga­tions. “You are a ca­pa­ble per­son and I am de­pend­ing on you quite a lot,” the chief jus­tice told Tahir. Chief Jus­tice Nisar added that his per­sonal num­ber will be pro­vided to the DG so that the lat­ter may con­tact him in case of any prob­lems with the probe. “If there is any prob­lem, please in­form me, as well,” Zainab’s fa­ther said. Pun­jab In­spec­tor Gen­eral of Po­lice Arif Nawaz Khan, head of the joint in­ves­ti­ga­tion team prob­ing Zainab’s mur­der, Ad­di­tional IG Abu Bakar Khuda Bakhsh, and chief sec­re­tary of Pun­jab, Khizer Hayat, were also present in the court for to­day’s hear­ing. Me­dia fig­ures ap­pear in court The court, on Satur­day, had sum­moned 12 me­dia ex­ec­u­tives and an­chors to ap­pear for to­day’s hear­ing. Ap­pear­ing be­fore the bench, Zia Shahid of the Coun­cil of Pak­istan News­pa­per Ed­i­tors said that if neu­tral in­ves­ti­ga­tions are con­ducted, the truth be­hind Ma­sood’s al­le­ga­tions can be un­veiled. He noted that sev­eral in­ci­dents of child pornog­ra­phy have been re­ported. When asked by the chief jus­tice about his opin­ion re­gard­ing the for­ma­tion of a JIT by the court, Shahid said “an in­de­pen­dent JIT should be formed”. Arif Nizami, for­mer edi­tor of The Na­tion and founder of Pak­istan To­day, told the court that if Ma­sood’s al­le­ga­tions are not true, the state­ments he made re­gard­ing the case would be “equiv­a­lent to the death of jour­nal­ism”. An­chor­per­son Hamid Mir, how­ever, stated that if Ma­sood’s al­le­ga­tions are proven to be in­cor­rect, he should be al­lowed to seek for­give­ness. “Jour­nal­ists make mis­takes. He should be given the right to for­give­ness,” Mir said in court, later tweet­ing that Ma­sood “missed his chance to ad­mit mis­take and apol­o­gise”. Dr Shahid Ma­sood failed to present any ev­i­dence in Supreme Court we sug­gested him to ac­cept mis­take and apol­o­gise but he missed the chance.

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