A model court in Karachi on Monday awarded a life imprisonment sentence to a man accused of kidnapping a five-year-old girl for ransom and later strangulating her to death in 2012.
Waheed Ahmed, the accused, was found guilty of kidnapping Erum, alias Rani, and murdering her within the remit of Mubina Town police station in May 2012.
The additional district and sessions’ judge Haleem Ahmed, of the model criminal trial court (East), ruled that the prosecution had proved its case against the accused beyond the shadow of doubt and that the accused had kidnapped the baby on May 01, 2012 in order to commit her murder.
The judge handed down life imprisonment to the accused for killing the girl and ordered him to pay Rs500,000 compensation to the legal heirs of deceased. Failure to make the payment would earn him an additional six months of imprisonment, which would run concurrently with the his main sentence.
The judge noted that the reason for awarding a lesser punishment was that neither the incident was seen by anyone nor the motive of the crime was clear, which constituted strong mitigating circumstances for awarding a lesser punishment.
According to the prosecution, Erum went missing while playing outside her house on May 1, 2012. Later, the accused contacted the victim's father and demanded ransom for her safe recovery, it added.
After a month, the father was called by the police to identify a body kept at the Abbas Shaheed Hospital. The complainant identified the body to be of his missing daughter, the prosecution said.
After submission of the charge sheet, the court indicted the accused but he pleaded “not guilty” and opted to contest.
During the trial, the detained accused denied the allegations, claiming to be innocent. He alleged that the police framed him in the case, which was branded "false and fabricated".
However, the prosecution insisted that there was not only strong medical evidence but also the statement of an eyewitness, which establishes that the accused had kidnapped the girl and later killed her due to the fear of being caught.