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Sunday, February 5, 2023
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EditorialHashtag justice

Hashtag justice

The brutal murder of Nazim Sajawal Jokhio in Thatta raises many questions for the Sindh government. The tortured body of the 27-year-old victim was recovered from ruling PPP’s lawmaker Jam Awais Khan Jokhio’s farmhouse. Nazim’s brother has accused MPA Awais and MNA Jam Abdul Karim for the brutal murder. It is being reported that Nazim had tried to stop the lawmaker’s guests from hunting houbara bustards in the vicinity. Upon refusal, he had recorded a video of some foreign hunters doing the same. Following the incident, Nazim’s brutally tortured body was found in the farm house and after his family blocked the National Highway to stage a protest for the arrest of influential personalities, along with social media outrage giving rise to #JusticeForNazimJokhio, was it that the police sprung up in action, leading to Awais’ surrender and three-day judicial remand.

The incident and the following actions reflect the text-book definition of how Pakistan’s justice system works when influential personalities are involved. Protesting families. Check. Social media outrage. Check. Police arrest. Check. But justice is still delayed, as soon as the case is forgotten, with keyboard warriors waiting for another hashtag to be made. While it is yet to be proven whether the PPP lawmakers were involved, no words from the Sindh government condemning this gross act have been uttered. It is though the same government that doesn’t miss an opportunity to call out injustices of other political parties. The least the provincial government can do is ask the accused lawmakers from stepping down from their respective seats during the investigation period. Moreover, an enquiry must be launched to investigate whether the foreign hunters had the permit required to hunt the rare bird breed in the province.

It must be noted that a ban on hunting houbara bustards – an internationally protected bird species – was only lifted in 2016 on the government’s petition, claiming that wealthy Arabs brought prosperity to underdeveloped areas surrounding the hunting fields and the ban would damage Pakistan’s relations with the Gulf states. But this meant that only 25 to 35 special permits would be issued annually to wealthy sheikhs, allowing them to hunt the bird in winters. If the foreign hunters had obtained the ‘license to kill’, it would have been unlawful for Nazim to stop them. There is much to the incident that meets the eye and a thorough investigation must be carried.

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