ISLAMABAD, June 28: Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Thursday reserved its judgment on the matter of presidential pardon for the gunman of property tycoon Malik Riaz who was sentenced lifetime imprisonment for killing a rival in the parking of Islamabad district courts in 2009 in broad daylight.
IHC division bench comprising Justice Riaz Ahmed Khan and Justice Azim Khan Afridi earlier on June 25 stopped the implementation of the presidential pardon till the final decision of the court while hearing the petition filed by Chaudhry Mohammad Ashraf, the former president of IHC bar association.
Advocate Ashraf challenged the act of pardoning Basharat, a terrorism convict, by President Asif Ali Zardari on June 13, 2012.
He said under Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) 1997, the punishment of terrorism convict could not be pardoned adding that president had pardoned the convict without seeking advice from the prime minister or the federal cabinet.
The counsels for Basharat, however, told the court that president under Article 45 of the Constitution could pardon any convict and under Article 48-1, he did not need any advice or approval of the prime minister or federal cabinet before doing so.
They said Section-21 of the ATA 1997, restrains the provincial government from reducing or pardoning the sentence of a convict but there was no restriction for the president.
According to him, after the conviction of Basharat, his wife submitted a mercy application to the president and Malik Riaz was not involved in the process.
According to the petition filed by advocate Ashraf, on January 09, 2010 when the inquiry proceedings were going on in the district and sessions court of Islamabad in different land-related cases against Bahria Town, the aggrieved persons tried to stop the vehicle carrying Malik Riaz.
On this, Basharat, his gunman, opened indiscriminate fire at the other party killing a person named Hamid. An FIR of the murder was then lodged against Basharat under the anti-terrorism act.
The trial of Basharat was carried out at an anti-terrorism court of Rawalpindi and ATC judge Malik Mohammad Akram Awan awarded him life imprisonment in 2011 and the convict was sent to Rawalpindi central jail Adiala.