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Hakeem Said`s Murder Case – An Eye Opener!

Amidst the update of the post Hamid Mir-attack situation, there came up one more breaking news that requires our serious attention. According to news, the Supreme Court upheld the verdict of Sindh High Court (SHC) rejecting the provincial government’s appeal regarding acquittal of MuttahidaQaumi Movement (MQM) activists in the murder case of famous philanthropist and physician Hakeem Mohammad Said.

Hakeem Muhammad Said was killed in October 1998 and immediately after his murder, the government formally accused MQM of this. Later on, in June 1999, the anti-terrorism court convicted nine MQM workers and sentenced them to death. MQM challenged the judgment in the Sindh High Court and, as a result, the ATC`s verdict was dismissed and the accused were acquitted. But, the government in 2001 filed the appeal in the apex court against the acquittal, however, now the Supreme Court has upheld the verdict of Sindh High Court (SHC) rejecting the provincial government’s appeal regarding acquittal of MQM activists.

Apparently, it was a legal battle in the murder case of Hakeem Said between MQM and the government that MQM eventually won. But it is not as simple as it seems to be. In 1998, as soon as Hakeem Said was murdered, the Prime Minister of Pakistan of the time Muhammad Nawaz Sharif held a press conference and formally leveled the murder charge on MQM`s workers and required its leadership to hand over them to the government.

MQM not only altogether denied the allegation, but also immediately left the coalition government as a protest. In return, the PML-N`s government imposed governor`s rule in Sindh and launched a new operation against MQM which had already been facing operations since 1992. In the name of “bringing the culprits to justice” of the Hakeem Said`s murder, countless MQM workers were arrested. But, the situation got worse when during the process of “investigation”, the main accused Muhammad Fasih was dead. He had torture marks on his whole body. The question is, can an accused ever be deprived of his life by torture in the name of investigation?

Legally speaking, no action can be taken against an accused just on the basis of the mere allegation from someone. As per Islamic principles, the responsibility to prove the allegation lies on the shoulders of the person putting the blame. Similarly, the basic principle of justice emphasizes that an accused is assumed to be innocent unless and until proved guilty in the court of law. In addition, according to the Article 9 of the Constitution of Pakistan, “No person shall be deprived of life or liberty”. While the Article 10-A says, “For the determination of his civil rights and obligations or in any criminal charge against him, a person shall be entitled to a fair trial and due process.” Were all these principles and laws followed treating MQM and his accused workers in the Hakeem Said`s murder case?

It is worth noticing that in his press conference about the Hakeem Said murder, then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said, “I will myself monitor all the investigation process of Hakeem Muhammad Said Saheed”. Then, does the responsibility of the custodial killing of MQM worker not lie on his shoulders? More importantly, after the Supreme Court has given its verdict in favor of the persons accused by Nawaz Sharif, should he not now hold a press conference and apologize to MQM over his false allegations and also order to take action against all those who not only misguided him, but also were responsible of the custodial death of Muhammad Fasih? What does his silence indicate? The lack of moral courage or his malafied intention for MQM?

We know that recently the anchorperson of “Capital Talk” Hamid Mir survived a murder attack in Karachi. First his brother Aamir Mir and, later on, Hamid Mir himself from the hospital bed formally accused the DG ISI of being the master mind of the attack. From the investigation point of view, the statement of the victim of a murder attempt is of crucial importance to trace the culprits. However, the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, the initiator of Pakistan Protection Ordinance, neither held a press conference, as he did in the Hakeem Said murder case, nor did he require the relevant Institution to hand over the accused to the Police. Rather, he ordered to constitute a judicial commission to investigate, in other words, if the finger be pointed towards the person accused by the victim himself or not.   

Honestly speaking, it is not legally fair to take any action against the accused just on the basis of mere allegation from someone. It needs be thoroughly investigated before making a decision in this context. So, it was an appropriate decision of the Prime Minister to from a judicial commission. But, the question, why was such a truly legal procedure not adopted in the Hakeem Said murder case? Is the DG ISI being given undue favor or, perhaps, the MQM workers and The Article 25 of the Constitution of Pakistan states that all citizens are equal before law and are entitled to equal protection of law. Is how MQM being treated not the gross violation of the Article 25?

To tell the truth, it is not the matter of only Muhammad Fasih in the Hakeem Said` murder case, rather, thousands of MQM workers have already been the victims of the same discrimination from the rulers of the time especially since 1992. Unfortunately, this brutality has not stopped yet. MQM has now received the gift of over 30 mutilated dead bodies of its arrested workers either by plain or unformed personnel in addition to the target killings of its over 50, in the new phase of the operation originated in 1992. It is wise to take up this matter and ensure to treat all the people legally and equally without regardless of their political affiliation or ethnicity as Pakistan cannot afford one more issue like Balochistan. May God save Pakistan from another disaster…Aameen!

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