KARACHI: An antiterrorism court has directed the additional inspector general of police, Karachi, to initiate an inquiry against police officials involved in fake encounters and take strict action against them.
The court declared the cases of encounters against 22-year-old Fazal Ihsan and 30-year-old Muzzamil Baig as “doubtful”.
The ATC-XII judge, who conducted the trial in the judicial complex inside the central prison, pronounced his verdicts in two separate cases reserved after recording evidence and final arguments from both sides.
The judge directed the Karachi police chief to take action against the police officials who recorded false testimonies before the court and intimate the court regarding action taken against them.
The judge also ordered prison authorities to release the accused forthwith, if their custody were not required in any other case.
In the verdict, the judge wrote that the evidence of prosecution witnesses could not be relied upon, as the same was full of material contradictions.
ATC has acquitted two men in as many encounter with police cases by declaring the shootouts fake
“Furthermore, it is the duty of prosecution to first establish its case through reliable evidence and only then the burden shifts on the accused. However, in the present case the prosecution has miserably failed to do so,” the judge noted and declared the case as “doubtful”.
During the trial, the then medico-legal officer of the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital, Dr Abid Haroon, testified that the injuries were caused to the accused by a low-velocity weapon with a distance of four to five feet, whereas, according to the prosecution, police were having a sub-machine gun (SMG), which is a high-velocity weapon and encounter took place with a minimum distance of 10 yards.
According to the prosecution, head constable Shakeel along with others were on a routine patrol on Sept 12, 2019 when he spotted two men riding a motorcycle. The policemen signalled them to stop, but the suspects opened straight fire on them and tried to escape. The police retaliated and bullets hit both legs of a suspect, later identified as Fazal Ihsan, who was subsequently arrested in injured condition, but his alleged accomplice, Imran, managed to flee.
Two separate cases were lodged under Sections 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty), 324 (attempted murder) and 34 (common intention) of the Pakistan Penal Code, Section 23(i)-A of the Sindh Arms Act, 2013 read with the Section 7 (punishment for acts of terrorism) of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997 at the SITE-A police station.
The same court also acquitted Muzzamil Baig in an identical case pertaining to encounter with police and terrorism.
In both cases, defence counsel Mubashir Hussain Bhutta denied the allegations of the prosecution and submitted that his clients were booked in cases of ‘staged’ encounters and pleaded to the court to acquit them.
During the trial, the then MLO at the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre, Dr Syed Umair Ahmed, contradicted the police version and deposed Baig was shot by a high-velocity weapon with a distance of more than two metres.
The judge noted that this was fatal for the case of prosecution, as medical evidence contradicted the evidence of complainant of this case. “Therefore, it is a material lacuna in the prosecution case and it can be said that encounter appears to be false/fake,” the judge noted.
Published in Dawn, March 6th, 2021