19 acquitted in minor girl’s rape, murder case

Updated November 16, 2019

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Judge rules prosecution had failed to prove charges and bring evidence against the accused. — Creative Commons/File
Judge rules prosecution had failed to prove charges and bring evidence against the accused. — Creative Commons/File

KARACHI: A sessions’ court on Friday acquitted 19 accused of charges of raping and murdering a minor girl “due to lack of evidence”.

Nineteen men were charged with raping a six-year-old girl in Orangi Town, Sector 8, and later killing her in January 2016 within the remit of the Orangi Town police station.

The victim had reportedly gone missing from a wedding hall, where her family had gone to attend a wedding, and her body was found from the hall’s underground water tank six days later.

The additional district and sessions’ judge (West) pronounced the verdict.

The judge ruled that the prosecution had failed to prove charges and bring evidence against the accused to connect them with the commissioning of the alleged offences.

The acquitted men included the owner and the manager of the wedding hall.

According to the prosecution, the girl had gone with the family to attend a wedding in the hall from where she went missing on Jan 25.

The family reported the child missing at the Orangi Town police station.

The police during search of the wedding hall recovered the body of the missing girl from its underground water tank.

It was alleged that the girl was raped and later murdered by the employees of the wedding hall.

An enraged mob had later set ablaze the wedding hall after the police recovered the victim’s body.

Initially, police had arrested eight employees of the wedding hall. Later, its owner and manager were also arrested.

In the interim charge sheet, the investigating officer had mentioned that the medico-legal examination had confirmed that the child had been raped.

Khursheed Shah’s family members’ bail extended

The Sindh High Court extended on Friday interim pre-arrest bail granted to two wives and sons of detained Pakistan Peoples Party leader Syed Khursheed Shah in an inquiry pertaining to allegedly having assets beyond his known sources of income.

A two-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice Ahmed Ali M. Shaikh, extended bail of Talat Bibi and Gulnaz Bibi, wives of Mr Shah, till Jan 16, 2020 after a prosecutor for the National Accountability Bureau sought time to file comments on the bail pleas.

The same bench also extended interim bail of Syed Farrukh Ahmed Shah and Syed Zeerak Shah — both sons of Mr Shah, till Jan 16, 2020.

In their pleas, the petitioners had submitted that NAB, Sukkur, had been conducting an inquiry against the senior PPP leader and his family over assets beyond known sources of income.

Impleading the NAB chairman, NAB Sindh director general and deputy director of NAB Sukkur as respondents, the petitioners contended that NAB had yet to issue them notices, and expressed the apprehension that the federal anti-graft watchdog wanted to arrest them and pleaded for interim bail.

In September, the court had admitted them to interim bail before arrest subject to furnishing a solvent surety of Rs500,000 each.

Published in Dawn, November 16th, 2019