KARACHI: A key prosecution witness on Tuesday turned hostile by deviating from his previous statement before an anti-terrorism court in the Arshad Pappu murder case.
Shahjahan Baloch, an MNA of the Pakistan People’s Party from Lyari, former SHO Javed Baloch, the then inspector Yousuf Baloch, Zubair Baloch, Zakir Dada and Abdul Rehman have been charged with murder of three people — Arshad Pappu, the alleged leader of an infamous criminal gang of Lyari, his brother Yasir Arafat and their confidant Juma Shera — who were killed in March last year.
The police constable, Mohammad Yousuf, appeared before the court as one of the prosecution witnesses to record his evidence.
The prosecution said that the policeman had witnessed the recovery of crime weapons in a Lyari locality on a lead given by the accused Zakir, the arrest of Shahjahan Baloch in the present case and the handing over of a video of beheading and defacing of the alleged gangster to the police. He had signed the memos of recoveries and arrest as a witness, it added.
However, the witness negated the version of the prosecution during his testimony in the court and deposed that the alleged recoveries and arrest were not made in his presence.
The special public prosecutor declared the policeman hostile under the Qanun-i-Shahadat Order, 1984, by stating that he had deviated from his statement recorded under section 161 (examination of witnesses by police) of the criminal procedure code and memos of recoveries and arrest.
The prosecution also examined two other witnesses in the case.
Sub-Inspector Azam Khan testified that he arrested Zakir, Zubair and Yousuf Baloch and during the cross-examination the police officer admitted that he used a Kalashnikov during a shootout with one of the accused, but had no answer when one of the defence lawyers asked him that there was no documentary record about the use of weapon in question during the alleged shootout.
Assistant Sub-Inspector Abid Tanoli deposed that he arrested accused Abdul Rahman after a shootout and also witnessed the arrest of Zakir and Zubair.
After recording the evidence, the judge of the ATC-II adjourned the hearing till Sept 29 for the evidence of other witnesses.
The head of the banned People’s Aman Committee of Lyari, Uzair Jan Baloch; Noor Mohammad, alias Baba Ladla; his brother Zahid Ladla; Asif Kana; Faisal Pathan; Yasir Pathan; and former SHO Chand Khan Niazi; have already been declared proclaimed offenders in the case and the court had ruled that the proceedings against the POs would be conducted in absentia as provided under Section 19 (10) of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997.
According to the prosecution, Arshad Pappu with his brother and a confidant and a 10-year-old son had gone to attend a party of a friend in Defence Housing Authority on the night of March 16 last year, but the boy came home around midnight and informed his mother that around 20 men in two vehicles came to the flat in the DHA and took his father and the two others away.
It further stated that the boy had identified Zubair Baloch; Noor Mohammad, alias Baba Ladla; his brother Zahid Ladla; Asif; Faisal Pathan and Zakir Dada as alleged kidnappers.
The victims were killed after being subjected to torture and the bodies of Arshad Pappu and his brother were thrown in manholes in Kalakot after being mutilated, the prosecution said and added that the crime was committed at the behest of Shahjehan Baloch, it added.
A case was registered under Sections 302 (premeditated murder), 365 (kidnapping with intent secretly and wrongfully to confine person), 297 (trespassing on burial place, etc), 392 (punishment for robbery), 109 (abetment) and 34 (common intention) of the Pakistan Penal Code read with Section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act at the Kalakot police station on the complaint of the deceased’s widow after the Supreme Court took notice of the incident and ordered registration of the case.
Arshad Pappu was booked in around 60 cases, including murder, kidnapping, attempted murder, illicit weapon and extortion at different police stations in the city.
However, he was never convicted in any case since most of the key witnesses either did not turn up to testify against him or turned hostile before courts.
He was released in around middle of February in 2012 from a prison in Balochistan.
He was acquitted in what appeared to be the last case against him on Feb 29, 2012 pertaining to the murder of Faiz Mohammad, aka Mama Faizu, a transporter and father of Uzair Jan Baloch, the chief of the banned PAC.
Faiz Mohammad was murdered in January 2003 in the Chakiwara locality of Lyari. Arshad Pappu got bail in the case in May 2011.
Verdict reserved in kidnap case against Afaq
An anti-terrorism court reserved on Tuesday its verdict in a kidnapping for ransom case against Mohajir Qaumi Movement (MQM-H) chief Afaq Ahmed.
Afaq has been charged with abetting the kidnapping for ransom of an official of the now defunct Karachi Development Authority in May 2001 in Korangi.
After hearing concluding arguments from both sides, the judge of the ATC-II reserved the judgement for pronouncement till Oct 14.
Published in Dawn, September 17th, 2014