SC orders ATC to conclude Perween Rahman murder trial as per law

Published December 5, 2020
Head of the Orangi Pilot Project (OPP) Perween Rahman. — Dawn/File
Head of the Orangi Pilot Project (OPP) Perween Rahman. — Dawn/File

KARACHI: The Supreme Court has directed an antiterrorism court to conclude the trial in the murder of head of the Orangi Pilot Project (OPP) Perween Rahman in accordance with law, it emerged on Friday.

Five accused — Abdul Raheem Swati, his son Mohammad Imran Swati and three co-accused: Ayaz Shamzai aka Swati, Amjad Hussain Khan and Ahmed Khan aka Ahmed Ali aka Pappu Kashmiri — have been charged with her murder.

Ms Rahman was gunned down near her office in Orangi Town on March 13, 2013.

In September, the Supreme Court had directed Karachi’s ATC-XIII judge to conclude the trial within one month since a fourth joint investigation of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) had concluded reinvestigation on the directives of the apex court.

Notice to Gizri SHO on plea for FIR registration over killing of five suspects in DHA ‘encounter’

Judicial sources told Dawn that the judge of the ATC-XIII had sent a report to the SC in November mentioning progress in the case. The trial court also requested the apex court to allow it more time to conclude the trial, which is still under way, the sources added.

In the meanwhile, the sources said that the tenure of the judge of the ATC-XIII expired on Nov 23. Therefore, the case had been transferred to the ATC-IV for further proceeding.

The judicial sources said that a letter had been received from the apex court directing the ATC-IV judge to conclude the trial in accordance with the law.

The trial in the high-profile case remained stalled for around one and half years following a restraining order passed by the Sindh High Court against passing of the judgement without recording evidence of the heads of three joint investigation teams (JITs) constituted to investigate the killing of Ms Rahman.

Earlier, the judge of the ATC-XIII had recorded statements of the accused persons under Section 342 of the criminal procedure code (CrPC).

But, the complainant, a sister of the slain activist, had approached the SHC to seek recording of evidence of the heads of the three JITs and also moved a separate application before the SC for a fresh investigation into the murder by the FIA showing “mistrust” in the Sindh police.

According to the prosecution, some of the detained accused during interrogation had confessed to their involvement in the crime and disclosed that local leaders of the Awami National Party (ANP) had allegedly hired Taliban militants to kill the activist.

Plea for FIR in DHA ‘encounter’ case

A sessions court on Friday issued notice to the Gizri SHO on an application seeking registration of a criminal case against police officials for allegedly killing five suspects in a ‘fake’ encounter in the Defence Housing Authority.

The additional district and sessions judge (South) directed the SHO Gizri to file a report on Dec 10.

Police claimed to have killed five ‘suspects’ alleging they had entered a bungalow near Imambargah Yasrab in DHA Phase 4 with the intention of committing a burglary on Nov 27.

Laila Parveen, a local PTI leader, had filed an application under Section 22-A of the CrPC seeking a direction for the SP (complaints cell) and Gizri SHO to lodge an FIR against police officials allegedly involved in the ‘staged’ encounter.

Ms Parveen, the owner of the bungalow, said that the officials of the Gizri police station took away her driver, Abbas, from her house and later killed him along with four others dubbed as suspected robbers.

The complainant further submitted that the officials showed that the encounter took place in her bungalow, but there was not a single bullet mark anywhere in the house to prove their claim.

She alleged that the officials had killed her driver, Abbas, who was an innocent man and was neither involved nor wanted by police in any criminal case.

She stated that after the alleged encounter the police officials of the Gizri police station washed the crime scene to destroy the evidence, which was also a criminal act.

The complainant said that the police officials also did not allow an independent post-mortem examination of the slain driver, adding that the body was still lying in the mortuary.

Published in Dawn, December 5th, 2020

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