KARACHI: An antiterrorism court on Friday acquitted four accused in a case pertaining to alleged kidnapping and murder of a man.
Kamran, alias Chatpati; Mohammad Amir Abbas; Zahid, alias Ajay; and Kamran, alias Munna were charged with kidnapping Mohammad Salman along with their two accomplices and murdering him within the remit of the Napier police station in Sept 2012.
On Friday, the judge of the ATC-III, who conducted the trial in the judicial complex inside the central prison, pronounced his judgement reserved after recording evidence and final arguments from both sides.
The judge acquitted the four accused as the prosecution failed to prove the charges against them. The judge also cancelled bail of Kamran Chatpati and Mohammad Amir and ordered the prison authorities to release Zahid and Kamran Munna forthwith, if their custody was not required in any other case.
The court issued perpetual arrest warrant for two proclaimed offenders — Abid, alias Chairman, and Kashif, alias Baba — and kept the case against them on dormant file till their arrest or surrender.
According to the charge sheet, accused Kamran Chatpati, Zahid Ajay along with their accomplice Abid alias Chairman armed with weapons and wooden sticks called the victim from his house.
When Salman came out along with his wife, Amir allegedly gave him a blow to his head with the wooden stick, while Kamran and Zahid strangled him with a cord, it added.
It further mentioned that Kamran held legs of the victim and on the instigation of Abid, Kamran Munna shot him in his head in the presence of his wife, killing him on the spot.
It added that in furtherance of their common intention, the detained accused Kamran and Amir murdered Mohammad Salman, took his body, stuffed it in a gunny bag on a motorcycle and dumped it on Siddique Wahab Road opposite Gulistan mosque and fled.
The court indicted the four men. However, they pleaded not guilty and opted to contest the trial.
In their statements, recorded under Section 342 of the Criminal Procedure Code, the accused denied the allegations levelled against them by the prosecution and claimed their innocence.
Defence counsel Latif Pasha contended that the present case was “blind” since there were no witnesses, who had identified his clients while committing the alleged offence.
He further contended that the evidence of the victim’s wife, Kainat, who was made an eyewitness by the prosecution after a delay of over two years, could not be solely relied on to convict the accused.
The defence counsel argued that there was no other eyewitness of the alleged incident, adding that a defence witness, who used to run a tandoor in the locality, testified before the court that no such incident had taken place on the date of the alleged offence. Therefore, the counsel pleaded to acquit the accused.
On the other hand, Rangers special prosecutor Chaudhry Mehmood argued that the prosecution had sufficient evidence to prove charges against the accused, as the circumstantial and medical evidence fully corroborated the allegations.
He further argued that the four accused and their two absconding accomplices — Abid, alias Chairman and Kashif, alias Baba — were associated with the Muttahida Qaumi Movement and arrested in 2015.
He added that the victim too was associated with the party, but he stopped ‘working’ with the accused, which became the motive for the murder.
The prosecutor further argued that the wife of the victim, who used to work as a supplier of gutka (chewing tobacco), witnessed the offence, and identified the accused before a judicial magistrate during an identification parade and then recorded her statement under Section 164 of the CrPC after a delay of over two years purportedly because of fear.
Therefore, he pleaded to punish the accused men in accordance with law.
A case under relevant sections of the law was registered on the complaint of the victim’s paternal uncle Mohammad Hanif.
Anti-state speeches case
An antiterrorism court has fixed Sept 13 to hear final arguments from the defence counsel for a provincial lawmaker of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement in a case relating to alleged distribution of CDs containing anti-state speeches.
MPA Shiraz Waheed; Mobin, alias Pakistani; Waqas; Ali Hasan and Naeem Shamshad along with others have been charged with distributing CDs of the party’s London-based chief Altaf Hussain, which contained speeches and statements to wage war against the state, among the people in an Ahsanabad locality in 2016.
On Friday, when the matter came up before the ATC concerned, the legislator’s counsel requested for time to advance final arguments in the matter.
Allowing time, the judge fixed the matter on Sept 13.
The judge also accepted an unconditional apology tendered by accused Ali Hasan over his absence from the court and pleaded to cancel his arrest warrant. The judge accepted the unconditional apology.
Published in Dawn, September 1st, 2019