- JIT terms 18 accusations levelled by TV anchorperson as baseless
- Report submitted to SC says convict not part of international pornography ring, not connected to any minister
ISLAMABAD: An investigation committee, formed to probe the accusations of TV anchorperson Dr Shahid Masood regarding the convict Imran Ali in the Zainab rape and murder case, on Thursday submitted its report in the Supreme Court, stating that Masood had failed to support any of his claims with evidence.
In his programme on TV channel NewsOne, Masood had claimed that Imran Ali maintained over 37 bank accounts, mostly foreign currency denominated, with transactions in dollars, euros and pounds sterling.
Masood had requested the chief justice, prime minister and army chief to take notice of these facts, claiming that the rapist cum murderer was not a deranged or an insane person or a simpleton.
During the suo moto hearing of the Zainab case, Masood handed over to Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar two names written on a folded paper of people who, he claimed, were behind an international racket running a child pornography ring.
Later, while talking to journalists, he claimed that one of them was a sitting federal minister but kept the name secret, saying the disclosure might endanger the life of the suspected killer of the Kasur girl.
A JIT, separately formed by the SC to investigate Masood’s claims, said in the report submitted to the court that Masood was unable to support any of his claims with evidence.
The committee has termed 18 accusations levelled by the anchorperson as baseless.
The report said that no evidence linking Imran to international mafia and affiliation to political personality had been found. It further stated that Masood’s allegations regarding the killer belonging to an international ring connected to child pornography are false and that there is no evidence regarding the existence of any international bank accounts in Ali’s name.
“The convict is a poor man and there is no evidence of any international bank accounts in his name,” the report said, also ruling out any influential politician backing Imran Ali.
The JIT report also said that Masood’s claim that someone would try to prove Ali to be clinically insane during the trial was also false.
“Shahid Masood has failed to substantiate his claims with proof,” the JIT said.
Earlier, Punjab government’s spokesperson Malik Ahmad Khan categorically dismissed reckless allegations of Dr Shahid Masood, while terming them an attempt to belittle the provincial government’s efforts.
While terming Masood’s allegations a figment of him, Khan stated that State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) thoroughly scrutinised local and international data and didn’t find any account linked to Imran.
Following the SBP’s statement, the anchorperson had asserted that he stands by his claims of Zainab’s murderer having 37 bank accounts.
“I’m not under any kind of pressure, I stand by my claims,” said Masood.
While hearing the case earlier, the chief justice had warned Masood of dire consequences if his claims proved to be false.
“If your news turns out to be untrue, [then] you cannot even imagine what will happen,” the chief justice had warned the TV anchor.
It is pertinent to mention here that an anti-terrorism court (ATC) found Imran Ali — the man accused of raping and murdering seven-year-old Zainab Amin in Kasur last month — guilty of the charges brought against him, and handed him four counts of the death penalty, one life term, a 7-year jail term and Rs 4.1 million in fines.
The four death penalties were for kidnapping, raping and murdering Zainab, and for committing an act of terrorism under Section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act.
The life sentence, along with a Rs1 million fine, was handed to Ali for sodomy; another 7-year jail sentence and Rs1 million fine were imposed for disrespecting the dead body by throwing it in a trash heap.
Additionally, Rs1 million from the penalties imposed will be paid to the victim’s heirs, the judge ruled.
Ali faces further charges in the cases of at least seven other children he attacked — five of whom were murdered — in a spate of assaults that had stoked fears a serial child killer was on the loose. He has confessed to all eight attacks, including the death of Zainab.
Imran Ali has appealed to the Lahore High Court (LHC) against the verdict.