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Pakistan

The saviour of the affluent

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The acquittal of Shahrukh Jatoi is indicative of the fact that justice is not served but bought.

 

Shahrukh Jatoi, the main accused in the Shahzeb Khan murder case, has been acquitted by the apex court, along with the other convicts. This major development in the high profile case has been condemned and criticised all over social media.

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Khan, a 20-year-old youngster, was shot dead on the night of December 24th, 2012, after he demanded an apology from the accused, whose employee had harassed Khan’s sister. Despite the matter being settled, the accused chased the victim and gunned him down in cold blood. The matter was brought to light after which the accused, the son of an affluent landlord in Sindh, was arrested due to immense pressure from the public. However, in 2013, death penalty was awarded to Jatoi, and his friend Siraj Talpur, by the anti-terrorism court, while the other convicts were awarded with lifetime imprisonment. The parents of the deceased, however, pardoned the convicts accused of murdering their only son, but due to the terrorism charges against the accused, the capital punishment had been upheld despite the pardon.

The accused, however, were released on bail by the sessions court which had sparked anger and insecurity amongst the civil society. The sessions court’s order was challenged by the civil society and activists which led to a suo moto of the petition by the Supreme Court and eventually the order of bail was nullified. However, the death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment in 2019.

Ten years later, eventually the Supreme Court has set all the convicts free after the convicts approached the SC for the acquittal on the basis of pardon granted by the family of the deceased.

This murder case was a test case for the judiciary and the state to see whether those who are influential in this country can be brought to justice for the crimes they commit or can they get away with anything they do, unscathed. Unfortunately, the latter reflects the bitter reality of a country where the Diyat law comes as a saviour of the affluent. The provision of Diyat law – also termed as “blood money” and was introduced in Pakistan’s legal system about 32 years ago, on the order of the Shariat Appellate Bench of the Supreme Court of Pakistan. The law allows the heirs or family of the victim to forgive the murderer either after receiving blood money as compensation under section 310 of Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) or without any compensation, in the name of God, under section 309.

The justice system of the state is largely undermined when power is granted to the heirs to pardon the murderers. This law presents a lacuna in our legal system which has time and again been manipulated by the powerful to get away with a crime as heinous as a murder.

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Raymond Davis, an American national, was acquitted despite being charged with the murder of two Pakistanis, after reaching an agreement with the families of the victims. The brother of the feminist activist and social media model Qandeel Baloch, was also acquitted of the charge after the parents of the victim pardoned their son for murdering his own sister in the name of honour. Earlier this year, the accused in the Nazim Jokhio murder case, including the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) MPA Jam Awais and MNA Jam Karim, were pardoned by the widow of the victim who asserted that “justice can’t be served in Pakistan” and left the matter in hands of God.

The acquittal of Jatoi, in the same vein, is indicative of the fact that justice is not served but bought; bought by those who have power, money, and influence.

The Diyat law undermines the criminal law which deals with the violation of rights of the public and holds the state responsible for penalising the perpetrators. The acquittal of Jatoi and other convicts not only reflects the failure of our justice system but also of the state’s writ. In order to maintain order in the society, it is essential for the state to punish the one who takes away the right to life of another human. Murder is not a crime against an individual but the public at large – as it leaves the society insecure and vulnerable. It’s a crime against the state – the entity created in the first place to provide security to the individuals.

Jatoi’s acquittal has left the majority in a state of fear – the fear of being a few bullets away from being killed at the hands of an affluent who would then conveniently coerce the family into granting a pardon, in return of a compensation, or in the name of God, and would escape the charge, roam freely, and make a victory sign – as he should since victorious is the one who has the power to turn circumstances in his favour.

However, in the latest development, the state has decided to file a review petition against the acquittal of Jatoi. The petition by the Attorney-General for Pakistan (AGP) on behest of the state has sought the review of the verdict keeping in view the components of compromise and mischief. The review petition is a significant move made by the state as it’s the responsibility and the foundational purpose of the state to enable its citizens to feel secure and penalise the offender who infringed upon the rights of individuals.

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Nevertheless, the onus falls upon the state to amend the Diyat law thus preventing the powerful from manipulating it to get off scot-free and ensure the penalty of anyone who commits a murder, irrespective of their social status. Murder needs to be dealt as a test of state’s writ. If not, the state will become anarchic, which would lead to a state of nature, leaving all individuals insecure and susceptible to meeting the same fate as Qandeel, Nazim or Shahzeb.





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Pakistan

Imran’s right of defence struck out in defamation case

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ISLAMABAD:

Additional District Judge Lahore Chaudhry Muhammad Asif struck out the right of defence of former prime minister since concerned interrogatories of the plaintiff were not submitted on Thursday.

“This court has been left with no option except to strike out the right of defence of the defendant (Imran Khan) in this case due to non-submission of requisite replies by the defendant regarding concerned interrogatories of the plaintiff. So, the right of defence of the defendant is hereby struck out in this case accordingly,” the order stated.

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The court asked the plaintiff to submit a list of witnesses on November 29.

It has been learned that the court has so far conducted 78 hearings of the case.

The order stated that the counsel for the defendant submitted an application for adjournment on the ground that the defendant was going to file a revised petition against the order of the court regarding the dismissal of concerned objections of the defendant.

Also read: ‘No objections’ to Imran’s helicopter landing at Parade Ground: GHQ

“From the perusal of record, it reveals that various reasonable opportunities have been provided to defendant to submit the requisite replies to concerned interrogatories of the plaintiff but the defendant has not done the needful,” it stated.

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“Vide previous order dated 17.11.2022, one more opportunity was granted to the defendant in this regard with the clarification that in case of submission of requisite replies from the defendant’s side regarding concerned interrogatories of the plaintiff on the next date, the right of defence of the defendant shall be struck out. No lawful justification exits for the grant of further adjournment,” it added.

The court rejected the adjournment plea of Imran’s counsel.

According to details, the defamation suit states that Imran started uttering false and malicious statements against the plaintiff (Shehbaz) that the latter offered Rs10 billion to the former through a common friend in exchange of withdrawing the case of Panama Papers pending before the Supreme Court (SC).

Also read: President Alvi in Lahore to consult Imran over COAS appointment

​​​It pleads that the baseless and defamatory statements by the defendant widely circulated by media lowered the integrity of the plaintiff and caused him extreme mental torture, agony and anxiety. The court has been requested to issue a decree for recovery of Rs 10 billion as compensation for the publication of defamatory content in favour of the plaintiff.

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In his written statement, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief states that one of his friends told him that someone known to him and also the Sharif family approached him with an offer to pay billions of rupees if he could convince him to stop pursuing the Panama Papers case.

Imran says that he disclosed the incident for the consumption of the public at large and in the interest of the public good does not constitute any defamation.





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Pakistan to send armed helicopter unit to UN peacekeeping mission

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UNITED NATIONS:

Pakistan and Bangladesh will each be sending an armed helicopter unit to the UN peacekeeping operations in Mali, which faces serious problems as several countries have withdrawn or announced plans to pull out their personnel, a UN spokesperson said on Wednesday.

Spokesman Farhan Haq said that India will supply a utility helicopter unit to the Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali, known as MINUSMA, and all three are expected to be deployed by March next year.

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“These provide much-needed support to our forces and are critical for early warning and rapid response to protect civilians,” the spokesman told reporters at the regular noon briefing at the UN headquarters in New York.

“The UN continues to discuss with member states the deployment of new assets and plans to fill longer-standing gaps in addition to those resulting from recent announcements” of withdrawals, he said.

Set up in 2013, MINUSMA has 17,622 personnel helping the Malian government combat terrorists operating in the country.

MINUSMA is one of the deadliest operations having claimed the lives of 292 peacekeepers.

France completed its withdrawal earlier this year and it was followed by Egypt in August.

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Germany said that it was withdrawing its personnel, who numbered 595 in the latest UN roster, from MINUSMA by May next year.

Also read: Who is country’s new army chief Asim Munir?

Britain is also pulling out its 249 personnel.

Ivory Coast also said that it would discontinue the participation of its personnel, who numbered 898, in MINUSMA when the current deployment ends because of a separate dispute with the Mali government over the arrest of its soldiers who went there on a mission unconnected to the UN.

Despite the dangerous nature of the Minusma, Pakistani military doctors serving in Mopti, a town in the fifth administrative region of Mali. have continued to serve, earning praise for their work. They operate a state-of-the-art hospital staffed with 75 medical personnel, including 10 women and 65 men, according to the UN.

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The hospital operates 24 hours a day, every day, and they are always on alert. All specialities are covered, from pharmacy to gynaecology. However, its main purpose is to perform life-saving and urgent surgery when peacekeepers are injured, it was pointed out.





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Imran urges ‘all Pakistanis to participate’ in PTI long march

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Former prime minister and PTI Chairman Imran Khan on Thursday urged all Pakistanis to participate in his party’s much-hyped long march on Saturday (Nov26) in what appears to be his final showdown with the incumbent government to force it to announce early election date.

“Dear Pakistanis, I want all of you to participate in our haqeeqi long march in Pindi at 1pm on Saturday,” he said in a short video statement.

Imran, who was removed from power through a vote of no confidence in April, said that only a nation which has justice in it will get real freedom. “When there is justice, there are rights. When there are rights, a nation is free. Only an independent nation is prosperous,” he went on to say.

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Read more: Interior ministry warns PTI of threats, urges postponing Pindi march

The former premier said that the nation will not stay silent until it gets real freedom. “I am coming for you despite my [health] condition and all of you need to come to Pindi for me,” he concluded.

Meanwhile, senior PTI leader Asad Umar presided over a meeting regarding the party’s preparation for the long march in Rawalpindi. Senior PTI leadership including Umar Ayub, Shibli Faraz, Ali Nawaz and others participated in the meeting.

The meeting discussed the overall preparations for the long march in Rawalpindi. The security plan, long march route and other significant matters came under discussion during the meeting.

The meeting was briefed that a caravan had left from Karachi for Rawalpindi whereas two others were ready to begin their journey to the garrison city from Quetta and Gilgit-Baltistan.

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A briefing was also given in the meeting regarding the accommodation of the participants.

Issues regarding the provision of all basic needs including food and accommodation to the participants of the march were also discussed in the meeting.

“The nation is fully united and eager to achieve real freedom,” Umar said, adding that the party would welcome caravans from all over Pakistan in Rawalpindi.

“The captain [Imran Khan] will lead the ocean of people in Rawalpindi on November 26,” he further said.





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