KARACHI: The Sindh High Court on Friday upheld the life imprisonment handed down by an antiterrorism court to a man on charges of killing a doctor on sectarian grounds.

Mohammad Atif Nizami, said to be a member of a banned militant outfit, was sentenced to life in prison in December 2011 after the trial court found him guilty of killing Dr Syed Ibne Hassan in August 2003 in a Malir locality.

The convict, through his lawyer Nadeem-ul-Haq, had challenged the conviction before the SHC.

Accused was found guilty of killing Dr Syed Ibne Hassan in 2003 on sectarian grounds

His lawyer argued that all the witnesses were close friends and chance witnesses and maintained that the medical evidence was in conflict with the ocular evidence.

However, assistant prosecutor general Sagheer Ahmed Abbasi argued that the witnesses had identified the appellant during an identification parade and also deposed before the trial court, while no proof of any enmity between complainant and the accused was brought on record by the defence.

He further submitted that the appellant was involved in a number of criminal cases and the conviction was in accordance with the law.

After hearing both sides and examining the evidence, a two-judge anti-terrorism appellant bench headed by Justice Aftab Ahmed Gorar dismissed the appeal and upheld the verdict of the trial court.

The bench observed that a consistent ocular account of the incident was furnished by two eyewitnesses before the trial court and medical and circumstantial evidence also confirmed the same.

It added that a pistol was also among the recoveries made from the appellant at the time of his arrest and the forensic science laboratory report of the weapon also supported the case of the prosecution.

It further observed that both the witnesses had also rightly picked out the appellant during an identification parade before a judicial magistrate assigning him a specific role that he had fired at the deceased.

The bench said that the counsel for the appellant had failed to point out any material illegality or serious infirmity committed by the trial court while passing the impugned judgement.

It said that the trial court’s order was based on an appreciation of the evidence and the same did not call for any interference by this court.

According to the prosecution, the accused along with his absconding accused Kamran alias Amir gunned down Dr Ibne Hassan on Aug 16, 2003 in Malir. On May 5, 2006 the police arrested the accused in Memon Goth and also claimed to have recovered illegal arms and explosives from his possession.

A case was registered under Sections 302 (premeditated murder) and 34 (common intention) of the Pakistan Penal Code read with Section 7(e) of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997 on a complaint of the victim’s brother. The police also registered another case against the accused under Sections 13-D of the Arms Ordinance and 4/5 of the Explosive Substances Act.

Published in Dawn, March 23rd, 2019