Exhumation of Dr Maha’s body for second autopsy ordered

Updated 12 Sep 2020

Email

On Friday, the investigating officer (IO) of the case moved an application before Judicial Magistrate Tehmina Yasir seeking permission to exhume the body of the victim for the second post-mortem examination. — File photo
On Friday, the investigating officer (IO) of the case moved an application before Judicial Magistrate Tehmina Yasir seeking permission to exhume the body of the victim for the second post-mortem examination. — File photo

KARACHI: A judicial magistrate (South) on Friday allowed exhumation of the body of Dr Maha Ali Shah for a “second” post-mortem examination to find out the actual cause of her death.

Initially, police said that the young woman doctor practicing at a private hospital in Clifton had allegedly committed suicide by shooting herself at her home on Aug 18. Later, they booked her friends under relevant sections of the law pertaining to alleged poisoning of the victim to death.

On Friday, the investigating officer (IO) of the case moved an application before Judicial Magistrate Tehmina Yasir seeking permission to exhume the body of the victim for the second post-mortem examination.

In her order, the judge wrote that the IO requested for exhumation to ascertain the cause of death, as complainant (father of the victim) suspected the death had been caused by poison/intoxication/drug. The victim was buried in her native village Girhor Sharif in Mirpurkhas district.

The judge added: “In view of the above, prosecution may act in accordance with the law, and this court is not obliged to interfere into investigation, as such this court has no objection, if the same is proceeded in accordance with the Section 467 [resumption of inquiry or trial] of the Criminal Procedure Code and the Police Rules, 1934.”

Prosecutor says ATC may announce Baldia factory fire case verdict on 17th

The IO submitted that the opinion of the doctors in the first post-mortem report showed conflicts with the facts.

It was also mentioned that according to the post-mortem report, the bullet allegedly entered the victim’s head from the left side and went out from the right side.

However, the IO maintained had the victim shot herself with her right hand, the bullet would have entered her skull from the right side and gone out from the left side of her head.

He also mentioned that there was a conflict in the opinion of the doctor, who conducted the first post-mortem examination.

The IO asked the court to grant permission to exhume the victim’s body for conducting the second post-mortem examination to find out the actual cause of death, as apparently someone else had shot Dr Maha in the head, according to her family.

Last week, the court had discharged detained dentist Dr Irfan Qureshi from the case “for the time being” till a final investigation report was filed by the IO.

Two other suspects, Junaid Khan and Waqas Hasan, have also obtained interim pre-arrest bail from the court.

A case was lodged at the Gizri police station on the complaint of the victim’s father.

Baldia factory verdict

An antiterrorism court is likely to pronounce its judgement in the high-profile Baldia factory fire case on Sept 17, prosecution and judicial source said.

Nine accused have been charged with setting ablaze the industrial unit with the help of its four gatekeepers eight years ago on Sept 11, 2012.

“There are 70 per cent chances that the trial court will pronounce its verdict in this case on the upcoming day of hearing i.e. Sept 17,” Special Public Prosecutor for Rangers Sajid Mehboob told Dawn.

The trial proceedings have entered the stage of recording final arguments from the prosecution and defence counsel for the accused persons.

“On the last date of hearing [Sept 2], the judge of the ATC-VI, who is conducting the trial in the case, ‘verbally’ told the counsel for the parties that the order in the case has been reserved and the same will be pronounced on Sept 17,” he said.

However, as per the court’s diary, the judge “put off [the matter] to 17/09/2020 for final arguments” and hearing on an application moved by accused Abdul Rehman for return of the articles recovered from his possession at the time of his arrest, the prosecutor added.

This created confusion among the prosecutor as well as the counsel for the accused persons.

Senior criminal lawyer Shaukat Hayat, who was defending MQM leader Rauf Siddiqui in the case, was optimistic that the trial court might announce its judgement since the prosecutor as well as the defence counsel for all the accused persons had already completed their final arguments in the matter.

“Under the law, once the counsel for the parties complete their final arguments, the courts usually reserve the case for announcement of the order,” he said.

However, he said it was up to the judge to further hear final arguments, if it is deemed that any sort of evidence was missing to be recorded before announcement of the order.

The ATC-VI judge had heard final arguments from the state prosecutor as well as the defence counsel for the accused persons.

Final arguments were advanced in the matter by the defence counsel for the accused persons including the then provincial minister for commerce and industries Rauf Siddiqui, former in-charge of the MQM’s Baldia Town sector, Abdul Rehman alias Bhola and activist Mohammad Zubair alias Chariya.

Both Rehman and Zubair are currently in custody while Rauf Siddiqui, Fazal Ahmed Jaan, Arshad Mehmood, Ali Mohammad, Shahrukh Latif, Hyderabad-based businessman Dr Abdul Sattar and Umar Hassan are currently on bail.

The court has been exempting from personal appearance accused Iqbal Adeeb Khanum due to her ill health on request made by defence counsel Hassan Sabir, who also told reporters on the last date that the judge had reserved the matter for announcement of the verdict on Sept 17.

On the last date, the defence counsel for the accused including Advocate Hassan Sabir for Dr Abdul Sattar, Ms Khanum and Umar Hassan, Advocate Shaukat Hayat and Abid Zaman for Rauf Siddiqui, Advocate Mansoor Akhtar for accused Rehman, Advocate M.T. Khan for accused Zubair and Advocate Farooq Hayat for accused Fazal Ahmed Jaan, Arshad Mehmood and Ali Mohammad had adopted their previous arguments as final ones.

However, Advocate Syed Shahid Iqbal, defence counsel for accused Shahrukh Latif, was absent.

Published in Dawn, September 12th, 2020