KARACHI, Nov 22: A suspended police officer admitted during cross-examination before an anti-terrorism court on Thursday that he had not asked the tracker company to seize a stolen vehicle in a case pertaining to the murder of Baloch traders in a staged shootout.
The then station house officer of the Anti-Car Lifting Cell, Malik Irshad, constables Zafar Iqbal, Zahoor Khan, Zaheer Mirza and Noor Shah have been charged with allegedly killing four traders hailing from Balochistan on Dec 31, 2008 within the remit of the Ferozabad police station.
On a pervious hearing, Malik Irshad recorded his testimony under oath and his cross-examination was reserved for Nov 22.
The public prosecutor, Abdul Maroof, cross-examined the accused during which he admitted that a tracker company could seize or switch off the engine of a vehicle after getting information about it’s purloin status, but he did not ask the company to seize the stolen vehicle in the present case.
Responding to another query, he said it was correct to suggest that the details of the incident he narrated in his statement before the trial court had no reference in his other statement recorded under Section 154 of the criminal procedure code at the time of registration of cases against the slain traders.
The under-trial police officer also admitted that neither any policeman nor any passer-by sustained injuries in the subject encounter.
In his statement, the accused had deposed that two bullets had hit the police van. But during cross-examination, the accused said that he had neither mentioned the same in his statement recorded under Section 154 of the CrPC nor in memos of arrest, the vehicle and weapons seized.
He said it was correct to suggest that the cases lodged against the deceased were disposed of in C (cancel) class after an enquiry conducted by senior police officials stated that fake cases were lodged against them and the officials exceeded their official limits by killing innocent persons.
The judge Ghulam Mustafa Memon of the ATC-III, who was conducting the trial, adjourned the hearing till Dec 4 for final arguments.
According to the prosecution, an ACLC team was chasing a stolen car, but they had allegedly opened fire on another vehicle killing four traders Haji Mohammad Tahir Achakzai, Obaidullah Khan Tareen, Mohammad Ibrahim Achakzai and Ziauddin Khan Achakzai a little after midnight on Dec 31, 2008 on Khalid Bin Walid Road within the remit of the Ferozabad police station.
All the suspended policemen were in custody, while Zafar Iqbal had been released on bail. The prosecution had closed its side after examining around 20 witnesses.
A case (FIR No 32/2009) was registered against the ACLC team under Section 302 (punishment for premeditated murder) and 34 (common intention) of the Pakistan Penal Code on a complaint of Haji Lala Khan, the father of one of the four victims, following a Supreme Court order.
Earlier, the police had registered a case under Section 319 (unintentional murder) of the PPC against the police officials.
Factory fire case
An additional district and sessions judge (west), Abdullah Channa, on Thursday granted interim pre-arrest bail to a director of the labour department against the surety bond of Rs500,000 till Dec 1 in the Baldia Town garment factory fire case.
Zahid Gulzar Sheikh through his lawyer moved the court and sought a pre-arrest bail a day after the court granted interim bail to the SITE managing director in the same case.