LAHORE: Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Mian Saqib Nisar has given four days to Punjab IGP Arif Nawaz to arrest the killers of journalist Zeeshan Butt.
During the hearing on Saturday, IGP Punjab requested the court to grant them a week to arrest the accused. However, the chief justice rejected the request, ordering the police official to arrest the accused at the earliest and launch enquiry against him under the anti-terrorism act.
While expressing anger over failure of authorities to arrest the accused, the CJP asked if he belonged to any political party.
To this, the IGP said that the accused belonged to Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz.
The CJP also asked if the accused was backed or supported by anyone in the crime, but Arif said it was not the case.
When asked if the accused’s name has been on the Exit Control List, the IGP replied in the affirmative.
The CJP further expressed concern over the issue, saying he was to hear cases at the Supreme Court’s Karachi registry next week but would instead be at the Lahore registry to hear the murder case.
A two-member bench was constituted a day earlier to hear the case.
Butt, a print journalist associated with a Lahore-based newspaper, was murdered on March 27 in the Union Council office of Samaryal tehsil of Sialkot. His family has accused UC Chairperson Imran Cheema, who is at large.
The journalist had visited Cheema’s office in Sambrial tehsil on March 27 to inquire about taxes levied on shop owners in Begowala union council, according to an audiotape of his last telephonic conversation.
Following a harsh exchange of words between the PML-N-affiliated Cheema and the journalist, the latter was issued death threats from Cheema — verified by the audiotape of the journalist’s telephonic conversation with District Council chairperson Hina Arshad Waraich.
The journalist, who had called Waraich to complain against Cheema’s death threats, did not get a chance to complete his conversation. The sound of three shots, allegedly fired at Butt, during the conversation are clearly audible in the recording.
The journalist succumbed to injuries received from firing within Begowala UC office premises – the site of the incident.
The deceased and accused are said to have had a prior enmity as well after they contested municipal elections against one another.