KARACHI: An antiterrorism court has awarded death sentence to a hitman, said to be associated with the banned outfit Lashkar-i-Jhangvi, for killing three people during an attack on a shrine.
Mohammad Ishaq, alias Bobby, was found guilty of shooting to death Zahir Hussain Shah; caretaker of the shrine of Nazar Ali Shah, his friend Mohammad Younus and an employee of the shrine, Mohammad Nawaz, in Korangi on Aug 23, 2014.
The judgement was pronounced by the judge of ATC-XVI.
The judge also ordered the convict to pay Rs200,000 in compensation to the legal heirs of each of the victims. The convict was also ordered to pay Rs200,000 fine to the state.
Furthermore, the judge also awarded 10-year imprisonment to the convict and imposed a fine of Rs50,000 for causing terrorism.
The court also ordered forfeiture of the properties of the convict.
However, all sentences are subject to confirmation or otherwise by the Sindh High Court and would run concurrently.
According to the prosecution, two young boys had visited the shrine and inquired about the shrine’s caretaker from an employee, Syed Zahid Hussain, on the day of the incident. Both the men turned up after 10 minutes and opened fire, killing the three people and escaped.
Initially, the investigating officer had filed an A-class report, declaring the accused as unknown or untraceable.
Later, the accused Ishaq, alias Bobby, was arrested in connection with another case and during interrogation he also disclosed his involvement in the triple murder case.
State prosecutors Mohammad Raza Kathor and Ghulam Murtaza Maitlo argued that an eyewitness, Mohammad Amir, had duly identified the accused during an identification parade conducted by the judicial magistrate concerned. They further argued that there was also sufficient circumstantial and forensic evidence to connect the role of the accused with the commissioning of the offence in the present case, adding that he also had a history of being involved in sectarian killings and had also been convicted in a case pertaining to bomb blast at an Imambargah and murder of Advocate Syed Waqar Shah on sectarian basis.
The prosecutors asked the court to punish the accused strictly in accordance with the law.
On the other hand, the accused denied the allegations and claimed innocence while recording his statement under Section 342 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC).
His defence counsel Hashmat Khalid contended that there were lacunae in the alleged identification parade of his client while there were other contradictions in the case of the prosecution. The counsel argued that his client had falsely been framed in the present case and pleaded to acquit him.
Published in Dawn, January 17th, 2021