ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court has given anchorperson Dr Shahid Masood until March 12 to submit his objections to the joint investigation team (JIT) report that dismissed as bogus his claims about the Zainab murder case convict. On Wednesday, Chief Justice Justice Saqib Nisar observed that the anchorperson had sensationalised the issue through his claims. When the anchorperson said he could apologise for the incident, the chief justice remarked, “the time for an apology is over. You have to accept at a national forum that you made a mistake.” “The claims you [Dr Masood] made were false,” the CJ said, adding that the JIT report showed that there was no truth to the claims made by the anchorperson. “You even claimed you were ready to be hanged if your revelations came out to be untrue. That is why the court took notice. You must be ready to face the legal consequences of your actions,” the chief justice said. The apex court later issued a notice to the private news channel where the anchorperson first broadcasted his claims. The chief justice said that the court would decide how to proceed in the matter after the anchorperson issued the apology. Dr Masood was directed to submit written objections to the JIT report before the next hearing of the case on March 12. On March 1, a JIT formed to probe the anchorperson’s claims had submitted its report to the Supreme Court, dismissing all of his allegations regarding the high-profile case. Seven-year-old Zainab was kidnapped on January 4 in Kasur and was found dead five days later from a garbage pile. The post-mortem examination revealed that she had been raped. Later, the authorities succeeded in arresting the suspect, identified as Imran Ali. He has since been sentenced to death by a trial court. In a TV show on January 25, Dr Masood claimed that the convict had links with an influential political figure and was part of an international ring. The chief justice took notice of the claims and sought a subsequent inquiry by a JIT. In its report to the apex court, the JIT declared baseless all 18 allegations levelled by the anchorperson. The JIT report stated that no proof was found of the convict’s connections with an influential political person. It also dismissed that the convict was part of an international mafia or that he maintained foreign currency accounts in various banks of the country. Similarly, no proof was found that the convict could be killed while in police custody or that child pornography was widespread in Kasur. Moreover, the JIT did not find any truth to Dr Masood’s claims that gangs involved in violent crime were operative in the province. Additionally, claims that Imran had sent the child’s photos to the dark web before committing the crime, or that the incident was viewed live via the internet, were found to be false, with an observation by the JIT members that no evidence of Imran ever accessing the dark web or internet were available. The report also revealed that the rejection of the convict’s multiple bank accounts had already been issued by the relevant authority, the State Bank of Pakistan. The JIT, headed by FIA director general Bashir Memon, included IB Joint DG Anwar Ali and Islamabad Police’s Assistant Inspector General (Operations) Asmatullah Junejo. Published in Daily Times, March 8th 2018.