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Asma murder: SC hears suo moto case as family members claim political involvement

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The Supreme Court (SC) will hear the suo moto case of Asma Rani’s murder today. The suo moto notice of the killing was taken on Tuesday. The SC had earlier summoned a report of the case from the Inspector General (IG) Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Salahuddin Mehsud and wondered how the suspect was able to flee the country.

Asma Rani was a third year medical student in the Ayub Medical College, Abbottabad. She had come back to her home in Kohat for the session break when two suspects attacked her on Saturday. Asma was coming back from the market with her sister-in-law when two suspects started shooting at her; she sustained three bullet injuries and later succumbed to her injuries in the local hospital.

Every other incident reported on electronic media is taken as a suo moto case by the judiciary which undermines the authority of the executives and puts a question mark on the power limit of the judiciary. 

The attacker, as identified by Asma in the hospital, was Mujahid Afridi, the nephew of a local PTI leader, Aftab Alam. Mujahid fled the scene and went to Saudi Arabia on an Umrah visa on Sunday. His brother, Sadiqullah, who is also one of the accused, was later arrested by the police.

According to Asma’s family, she was killed for rejecting a marriage proposal by Mujahid. Her family also alleged that Mujahid had been harassing them for a long time to accept the marriage proposal. They informed that they had contacted the police and Aftab Alam, who is the President of PTI Kohat, for help against Mujahid’s threat but they failed to take any action.

Read more: Brother of Asma’s murderer arrested in Kohat

The DPO Kohat Abbas Majeed Marwat told a news conference on Tuesday that the suspect was arrested from the house of a facilitator and the police have registered an FIR under Section 302 of the PPC. The DPO also informed that the Interpol has been contacted for the arrest of the prime suspect, Mujahid Afridi. He denied the allegations that Asma’s family had contacted them for assistance.

The increasing number of suo moto notices by the SC is a cause of worry among all the political and legal circles because the SC is extending its influence to the executive circle and disrupting the balance of power that is important for the effective functioning of the state.

PTI Kohat district president Aftab Alam also held a press conference on Tuesday. He informed that he and his party (PTI) were falsely accused of protecting the culprits. Alam declared that the police was an independent institution and they were not in any way influenced by him or his party. He demanded exemplary punishment for the suspects if they are found to be involved.

Asma’s sister, Safia Rani, gave an interview to Geo News in London. She claimed that KP police and PTI Kohat president Aftab Alam knew about the threats to Asma’s life but took no action. Safia claimed that she and her family were being harassed by Mujahid for a long time. She said that Asma contacted Alam three times seeking help against Mujahid but no one came to her rescue. Safia lamented that her family was poor and Mujahid’s family was rich, that’s why they were not granted any help by the police.

Read more: The world protest for Zainab’s cold-blooded murder

A protest was held by political and civil society activists against Asma’s murder in Lakki Marwat on Tuesday. The civil society activists protested against the brutality and injustices of the powerful and politically influential families. They claimed that citizens are not equal before the law since the powerful ones get away with major crimes even like murder; they requested the people to join together for the justice of Asma.

According to Asma’s family, she was killed for rejecting a marriage proposal by Mujahid. Her family also alleged that Mujahid had been harassing them for a long time to accept the marriage proposal.

Political rivals are using Asma Rani’s murder case to point out the inefficiencies in Imran Khan’s model KP police. They claim that KP police is no better than the police in other provinces which protects the powerful and persecutes the weak. Mujahid’s association with PTI’s district president doesn’t help with improving PTI’s reputation. Analysts believe that this case might turn out to be a big blow for PTI a few months before the elections.

Read more: Zainab case: Police finally arrest culprit!

Some legal experts have criticized the SC’s role in the case. The increasing number of suo moto notices by the SC is a cause of worry among all the political and legal circles because the SC is extending its influence to the executive circle and disrupting the balance of power that is important for the effective functioning of the state. Every other incident reported on electronic media is taken as a suo moto case by the judiciary which undermines the authority of the executives and puts a question mark on the power limit of the judiciary. 


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