KARACHI: Convicted murderer Faisal Mehmood, alias Faisal Mota, who was sentenced to death for the murder of journalist Wali Khan Babar, submitted an appeal to challenge his death sentence on Tuesday at the Sindh High Court (SHC).
Faisal Mota was sentenced to death by an anti-terrorism court (ATC) in absentia on March 1 2014.
The convict's counsel Advocate Aamir Masoob Qureshi today presented the stance in the application that since the death sentence was awarded in absentia, the court must declare it illegal. Qureshi added that according to Articles 21-L and 31-A of the Anti Terrorism Act 1997, a death sentence cannot be awarded in absentia.
The advocate also added that when a punishment is awarded in absentia, the convict must refer to the trial court according to Article 19(12). However, his client was unable to refer to the ATC in Kandhkot — where the sentence was announced — because the records of the case were at the SHC.
Therefore, the court must dismiss Mota's death penalty and send the case for a re-trial, Qureshi further added in the application.
The application was submitted at a SHC registry, which will scrutinise the appeal before presenting it before a bench.
Mota, said to be a worker of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), was arrested and detained last month in Karachi after a raid by Rangers at the MQM's headquarters.
On January 13, 2011, GeoNews journalist Wali Khan Babar was going home from his office when he was shot dead in Liaquatabad, Karachi.
Journalists had staged protests and rallies all across the country against the brutal murder. Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) had decided to hoist black flags at the offices of Union of Journalists, media centers, press clubs to expresses their resentment over the tragic death.
An ATC had indicted five men over the murder — including Faisal Mota, Syed Mohammad Ali Rizvi, Shahrukh alias Mani, Naveed alias Polka and Shakil alias Malik.