Fahad Malik’s murder test case for Pakistan's justice system

Fahad Malik’s brother welcomes stay on bail order restraining Adiala Jail superintendent from releasing the main accused

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Fahad Malik’s brother Jawad Malik has welcomed stay on bail order restraining Adiala Jail superintendent from releasing the main accused.

LONDON: Slain British Pakistani Barrister Fahad Malik’s brother Jawad Malik has welcomed Islamabad High Court’s stay on the bail order restraining the Adiala Jail superintendent from releasing the main murder accused Raja Arshad, stating that his brother’s case is a test case for Pakistan’s justice system.

On April 30, an anti-terrorism court (ATC) in Islamabad granted post-arrest bail to Raja Arshad but the Islamabad High Court restrained Adiala Jail’s superintendent from releasing the suspect till further hearing into the case.

Fahad Malik’s mother had filed a petition in the IHC to challenge the bail order. A two-member divisional bench, comprising Justice Athar Minallah and Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb, restrained the Central Prison Adiala superintendent not to release the accused.

Jawad Malik said it was shocking for the victim’s family that the bail order was passed while the murder trial is nearing its conclusion and murderers are being granted bail at a stage when they should be hanged to death. “Whilst I was away from Pakistan just for a few days I was shocked to hear that bail had been granted. My 65 year old elderly mother who has lost a son at the hands of these gangsters had to appear and file a petition before the IHC seeking justice. My brother’s murder case is a test for Pakistan’s justice system. He was killed in open view unprovoked by powerful gangsters while he was acting in his capacity as a lawyer. What message are we giving by granting bail to the main murder suspect?” asked Jawad Malik. “It means you kill someone, apply for bail and flee away as and when you wish.”

Jawad Malik said that many questions have arisen in the manner Raja Arshad got bail at the ATC. He said that Raja Arshad was able to get the bail in mysterious circumstances because the judge didn’t hear arguments on behalf of lawyers acting for the victim’s family or the prosecutor.

The suspect had already tried to flee the country once and was caught at the Torkhem border when he was granted bail immediately after committing the murder, Malik said. He took bail from Multan and was fleeing the country when he was arrested at the Torkham border which means that it’s a known fact that he cannot be trusted with the bail, he pointed out.

He further stated that the bail was granted by the same judge who had earlier removed terrorism clauses from the case which was also set aside by the Islamabad High Court in June 2018. Jawad expressed satisfaction over the IHC order to cancel the bail. “We moved IHC, challenging the ATC order. The high court suspended the bail order and directed the Adiala Jail officials not to set free any of the suspects," he remarked.

"At a time when the case is in its leg, the news of suspect getting bail shocked me," said Fahad’s brother. “Such reports are demoralising not only for us but also for the society."

He underscored the need for the concerned authorities to demonstrate responsibility. It’s the state’s responsibility to properly prosecute such cases, he said.

Jawad Malik said that the bail order in mysterious circumstances sent a wrong message to overseas Pakistanis who wish for genuine speedy justice in Pakistan.

Barrister Fahad Malik, who was a nephew of former Senate Chairman and current Federal Minister for Privatisation Mohammad Mian Soomro, was murdered on August 15, 2016 in a clash with powerful gangsters in Sector F-10, Islamabad.