Another undertrial prisoner’s video causes uproar

Another undertrial prisoner’s video causes uproar

RAWALPINDI/KARACHI: The emergence of what appears to be a video confession by Khalid Shamim — one of the suspects in the Imran Farooq murder case — has caused uproar in official and political circles.

Shamim, who is currently being held at the Adiala jail in the garrison city, alleges in the video that MQM chief Altaf Hussain was involved in Imran Farooq’s murder.

“When Imran Farooq’s body was brought back to Pakistan, he [Altaf] called Mustafa Kamal and said, ‘The job has been done’,” the prisoner can be heard saying.

Shamim, who appeared to be in good health but seemed to be slurring his words, also said that Altaf Hussain had also threatened Mr Kamal, because he felt threatened by him.

The video, aired during Wednes­day’s broadcast of Shahzaib Khanzada’s show on Geo News, is not the first time a video of an under-custody individual, allegedly linked to the MQM, has appeared in the media.

Earlier, a video confession of death-row convict Saulat Mirza had appeared on the media hours before he was due to be executed.

Mirza, who was sentenced to death for the murder of former KESC boss Shahid Hamid, had alleged in a video that former ports and shipping minister Babar Ghauri had ordered the assassination.

On Thursday, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan ordered an inquiry into the leaked video, and the jail superintendent’s statement was also recorded.

According to a statement issued by the interior ministry, the minister also directed authorities to investigate whether the jail administration was involved in the making of the video, and whether it was genuine.

Sources said that a senior federal government official recorded the statement of the jail superintendent and other prison officials.

Deputy Inspector General (Prisons) Shahid Saleem Baig told Dawn that an inquiry was under way and Jail Superintendent Saeedullah Gondal had already recorded his statement. He said that while the prisoner had been meeting his family, nobody was allowed to record a video inside the high-security barracks, no matter what the circumstances.

Shamim is currently being held in the high-security barracks of the Adiala jail and has been undergoing treatment for a skin condition, he said. The DIG said he was also allowed to meet his family regularly, according to the prison schedule.

The interior minister has asked for a report on the matter within the next couple of days.

Sources said that in his statement, the jail superintendent claimed that the video did not appear to have been recorded in prison, as the background did not indicate he was inside the prison facility at the time of the recording.

Earlier, in January of this year, the interior minister suspended the police officer in-charge of Khalid Shamim’s security for talking to the media during the trial.

It’s a mockery of justice, says MQM

Reacting to the allegations contained in the video, MQM leader Dr Farooq Sattar called upon the chief justice of Pakistan to take notice of the recording and airing of the video statement of a high-profile prisoner, saying that the statement made a mockery of the law and the country’s justice system.

Speaking at a press conference at the party’s Azizabad hea­dquarters on Thursday, he said Shamim’s video statement was part of “the MQM’s media trial”.

“Who has recorded the statement of a person who is in custody … who has provided the script to Khalid Shamim to read and who has issued his statement to TV channels? The nation wants an answer to these questions,” Dr Sattar exclaimed.

He said the channels that had aired the statement should inquire what the legal and judicial value of such a statement was and whether it behoved a responsible and independent media to broadcast the video.


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