LAHORE – The Supreme Court on Sunday formed a new joint investigation team (JIT), headed by Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) Director-General Bashir Memon, 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, who took a suo moto notice over the brutal rape and murder of the seven-year-old girl in Kasur, also barred Zainab’s parents and lawyer from talking to the media and fully cooperating with the police.
Controversial anchorperson Dr Shahid Masood appeared before the three-member bench at the SC’s Lahore registry and was asked by Justice Nisar to explain his claims and a video of his show was played during the hearing. The court asked him to submit evidence behind his claims which he couldn’t during Sunday’s hearing.
Besides CJP Mian Saqib Nisar, Justice Ijazul Ahsan and Justice Manzoor Malik are taking up the case.
The top court informed Masood that his name could be placed on Exit Control List (ECL) and he won’t be spared until he submits evidence behind his claims. The court has also ordered Punjab police to submit the challan as early as possible.
“These days, the law is discussed more on TV than in courts,” remarked the CJP.
No judicial commission will be formed by the PM or government in the future, said the court. “The judicial commission formed to look into journalist Saleem Shahzad’s case has gone down the drain,” said Justice Nisar. “There should be investigations instead of formation of judicial commissions. No PM or CM should now ask me to form judicial commissions.”
Dr Masood was told that he will be awarded a certificate for honesty if his claims turn out to be true. However, the court warned him of unforeseen consequences in case his allegations are proven false.
No power will be able to hinder the court when we decide to take notice, warned the CJP.
The SC bench was formed to address the claims made by anchorperson that the key suspect, Imran Ali, had multiple bank accounts.
However, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), in a press release on Friday, revealed that no bank accounts existed under Ali’s name.
Punjab Inspector-General Capt Arif Zaman Khan, Director-General of Punjab Forensic Science Agency Ashraf Tahir, head of the JIT formed for investigation Muhammad Idrees, and Zainab’s father Amin Ansari were also present in court.
Media owners, journalists summoned
The top court asked 12 executives and anchors of various media houses to appear in person at 10am Sunday at its Lahore Registry.
According to the court’s press release, these executive and anchors are: Mujeebur Rehman Shami, a senior journalist and editor, Daily Pakistan; Hameed Haroon, the chief executive officer of Dawn; Mir Shakeelur Rehman, the chief editor and publisher of The News and Jang; Rameeza Majid Nizami, the head of the Nawai Waqt and The Nation Group; Fahd Husain, the news director of Express TV; IA Rehman, a senior columnist and human rights activist; Amir Mehmood, the proprietor of Dunya Media Group and chairman of the Pakistan Broadcasters Association; Sarmad Ali, the president of All Pakistan Newspapers Society; Zia Shahid of the Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors; and anchorpersons Kamran Khan, Kashif Abbasi and Hamid Mir.
Zainab was kidnapped on January 4 from near her aunt’s house in Kasur. Her body was discovered five days later from a garbage pile. The post-mortem report revealed that Zainab had been raped and murdered.
Later, a suspect identified as Imran, said to be a serial killer involved in several other similar cases in Kasur, was caught from Pakpatta.