CJP forms a JIT to probe claims made by Shahid Masood
ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar has formed a Joint Investigation Team to probe the claims of TV Anchor Shahid Masood, regarding Imran Ali, the prime suspect in Zainab case. The chief justice was hearing the suo moto case of rape and murder of Zainab at the Lahore Registry of the Supreme Court.
He said the JIT headed by Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) Director General Bashir Memon would look into the claims made by the anchor.
A three-member bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar on January 25 heard the case with particular reference to “revelations” made by Masood in his TV show.
The anchorperson of private TV channel appeared before the court and got into heated argument with the chief justice when asked to corroborate his claims through evidence.
The chief justice warned the Masood that he would put his name on the Exit Control List when he the anchor avoided giving answers.
Shahid Masood remained adamant that his claims were a developing story and he stands by his news.
During the hearing the court also banned Muhammad Amir, father of Zainab, and his lawyer from issuing statements to the media and asked them to cooperate with the police.
Zainab’s father’s counsel Aftab Bajwa requested to appoint a serving military officer as the head of the investigation team.
A number of prominent journalists including Hamid Mir, Sohail Waraich, Mazhar Abbas, Kashif Abbasi and others were present in the court room during the hearing.
The top court gave a ten-day deadline to Punjab police to complete and submit the challan. However, Zainab’s father has shown mistrust over the investigation conducted by Punjab police.
CJP informed Masood that the bank accounts he talked about, do not exist. “You will appear in front of a new JIT when you failed to appear before the last one,” Justice Nisar expressed dissatisfaction over Masood’s absence during JIT’s investigation. “You can’t imagine how your allegations can change the outcome of the investigation,” he added.
Masood said that if he isn’t permitted to have his say, he will also ‘escape’ like former SSP Rao Anwar “in a local flight,” to which the CJP said that SC will give orders to place Masood’s name on ECL if he tries to escape. “If the allegations are proven right, you will awarded with the accolade of best journalist, but if the allegations are wrong, strict actions will be taken against you,” he further added.
“Investigation of the case is not your duty, but the investigation team’s task,” CJP said.
Dr Shahid Masood appeared in court for the hearing, and was asked by Justice Nisar to explain his claims and a video of his show was played during the hearing. The court has asked Masood to submit evidences behind his claims and to “stop beating around the bush.”
Punjab Inspector-General Capt Arif Zaman Khan, Director-General of Punjab Forensics Science Agency Ashraf Tahir, head of the JIT formed for investigation Muhammad Idrees, and Zainab’s father Amin Ansari were also present in court.
The court had already issued notices to them and Dr Shahid Masood earlier as well.
The court sought other officers including media owners, senior journalists, anchors and journalists from different organisations for the hearing. Hameed Haroon, Shakil-ur-Rehman, Ibn Abdur Rehman, Mujeeb-ur-Rehman Shani, Kamran Khan, Hamid Mir, Fahad Hussain, Kashif Abbasi, Mian Amir Mahmood, Sarmad Ali and Zia Shahid have been summoned.
On Friday, Dr Shahid Masood backtracked from his statement alleging Zainab’s murderer owned 37 bank accounts, hinting at a child pornography scandal, saying that things are often misreported.
Speaking to newsmen the anchorperson said that investigation was not his responsibility and it was the job of state institutions to find the authenticity of the news. “I did not provide this information with any wrong intent,” he said.
Masood, in his TV show claimed that the government of Punjab had brazenly lied to people and was later summoned by the Supreme Court to clarify and back his accusations.