KARACHI: The provincial authorities have sent a petition to President Mamnoon Hussain for grant of pardon to five Rangers personnel who were convicted by an anti-terrorism court of killing a student at a park in the Boat Basin area of Clifton in 2011, it emerged on Sunday.

Sources in the Sindh Home Department and the Inspector General of Prisons office told Dawn that a month ago, the “petition to grant pardon and remit/commute sentences of Rangers personnel under Article 45 of the Constitution” was moved to the president.

According to the sources, the families of the five convicted Rangers personnel had approached the prison officials to seek pardon for the convicts. Subsequently, the IGP prisons sent an application to the home department.

The home secretary submitted a summary to the chief minister of Sindh, which was approved and sent to the Governor’s House.

As per procedure, the Governor’s House has moved the summary to the prime minister’s office to seek opinion and submit the same to the president for pardon of the convicted personnel.

A section of media on Sunday reported that the president had granted pardon to five convicted Rangers personnel — Shahid Zafar, Muhammad Afzal Khan, Baha-ur-Rehman, Muhammad Tariq and Manthar Ali.

However, four officials in the Home Department and the Central Prisons Karachi told Dawn that the pardon petition was moved a month ago, but so far the provincial authorities had not received any confirmation of the president’s pardon.

The killing of the student, Sarfaraz Shah, had triggered an outcry, prompting the then chief justice of Pakistan, Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, to take suo motu notice.

Subsequently, both the Rangers chief and the IG of police were removed on the order of the Supreme Court.

The Rangers personnel were awarded death and life imprisonment by the ATC in Aug 2011 for shooting the unarmed youth to death in the Shaheed Benazir Bhutto Park.

The court had concluded the trial in one-and-a-half months under the directive of the Supreme Court.

The victim, Sarfaraz Shah, 22, was shot twice and then allegedly left to die in the park on June 8, 2011.

The incident was filmed by a cameraman and aired by several TV channels, which shocked the nation and prompted the Supreme Court to take suo motu notice of the incident.

Published in Dawn, January 8th, 2018

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