Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, Chairman Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), said on Wednesday that the PPP government in Sindh was willing to form a judicial commission to probe the murder of a Sindhi journalist Aziz Memon, advising journalists not to become part of a “conspiracy” against democratic forces.
Aziz memon a Sindhi Journalist has been killed today,he narrated his ordeal in this video and even came to Islamabad to apprise about death threats from PPP,I request CJ SC to take notice and fed agency shld investigate the case as he accused ruling party of Sindh before murder https://t.co/gFu9nbVbzj
— Ch Fawad Hussain (@fawadchaudhry) February 17, 2020
Addressing a press conference, Bilawal said if the family of the slain journalist wanted a judicial commission to be formed, the government will form one. “If the family wants a specific police officer, who they believe is credible, to investigate, we will assign that officer to the case,” he added.
After the murder of Memon, who “exposed the train march” of PPP chief, fingers were pointed at the Sindh government led by PPP. However, the party denied such accusations.
Bilawal also distanced his party from the murder and said the video about the train march was made a year ago. He advised journalists not to “unwillingly” become part of a conspiracy against “democratic forces” and work with its “allies” to strengthen the democratic institutions.
Journalist from Sindh, Aziz Memon strangled to death and his body was thrown into the canal. Months ago, Memon released a video saying he was receiving threats for his coverage of a news story on PPP. https://t.co/f8w2mQq8N8
— Naila Inayat (@nailainayat) February 17, 2020
“Our record is before you. Whenever you (journalists) are named in fake terrorism cases, whenever there are deadly attacks on your community, PPP always stands by you. Even if we suffer losses because of it, we tolerate that because we believe that constructive criticism leads to improvement.” “We want justice to prevail. We want a police system that is not involved in politics,” he insisted. He did not, however, shine a light on the findings of the ongoing investigation into Memon’s death.
In a video message Aziz Memon had said he had been harassed by local PPP leaders and the SSP Naushero Feroze. Unless there is a swift and impartial investigation, this will be a black mark on the democratic credentials of the @MediaCellPPP @murtazawahab1 @BBhuttoZardari https://t.co/mW0lIvQ2mI
— Amber Rahim Shamsi (@AmberRShamsi) February 17, 2020
PPP’s chairman said the allegations on the PPP government was a part of a conspiracy and added that such tactics were being used against our journalists who do real reporting, whether in Pakistan or abroad. “But I want to make a request before you all: this story does not end with Aziz Memon. This story is not limited to one Aziz Memon. You should ask who filed terrorism cases against Sindh’s journalists. You should also ask if this is only happening in Sindh,” he added.
It is worth noting that the PPP is accused of controlling police for political purposes. Sindh government transferred Allah Dino Khawaja (a.k.a A. D. Khawaja) back in 2017, but the decision was challenged by the civil society in the court. The Sindh High Court and Supreme Court of Pakistan turned down the provincial government’s decision due to flimsy grounds on which the government based its case. The Sindh government was “unhappy” with him over several issues relating to the recruitment of constables and suspension of police officers. Besides, A.D. Khawaja was not willing to transfer and post ‘politically wanted’ police officers to some constituencies before by-elections.
Quite recently, PPP was alleged Dr. Kaleem Imam, Sindh’s IGP, of incompetence. Well-placed sources told GVS that the controversy broke out after the Sindh government transferred three senior police officials including Shikarpur’s Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP), Dr. Rizwan Ahmed. The IGP was not happy and repeatedly conveyed to the CM that the decision should have been based upon ‘merit’, claim sources. Moreover, Dr. Imam had also asked the provincial government for initiating action against 10 to 12 senior police officers on charges of “serious misconduct” but no action was taken.
Retired police officers believe that the Sindh government wants total control over police department to maintain its ‘political strength’ across the province. “The provincial chief is always appointed on political grounds. But no police chief completely surrenders himself before the provincial government as no officer ever wants his credibility to be tarnished like that,” said a former police chief.
However, it is evident to note that electoral politics in rural areas of Sindh or any other province demands local politicians to have considerable control over police. Elected lawmakers in the Sindh or Punjab demand their respective provincial governments to appoint district police heads as per their choice. The same political necessity did not allow the current government in Punjab to reform police.