Ex-soldier’s death penalty commuted in colleague’s murder case

Published September 16, 2021
The Sindh High Court on Wednesday commuted death penalty of a former paramilitary soldier into life imprisonment in a case pertaining to murder of his colleague. — AP/File
The Sindh High Court on Wednesday commuted death penalty of a former paramilitary soldier into life imprisonment in a case pertaining to murder of his colleague. — AP/File

KARACHI: The Sindh High Court on Wednesday commuted death penalty of a former paramilitary soldier into life imprisonment in a case pertaining to murder of his colleague.

The two-judge bench headed by Justice Mohammad Karim Khan Agha said that capital punishment was being modified since there was no motive for the incident as it occurred as a result of a sudden flare-up.

A sessions/model court had sentenced the suspended sepoy Ali Murtaza to death in December 2019 for killing sepoy Mashooq Ali with his service rifle after a heated exchange of words inside the bachelor barracks of 63 Wing of Bhittai Rangers in Gulshan-i-Iqbal on October 23, 2016.

The convict challenged the trial court order before the high court and after hearing both sides and examining the evidence, the bench commuted the death sentence into life in prison.

The bench in its order observed that the prosecution had proved its case against the appellant as he was apprehended on the spot, recovery of official rifle, crime weapon, and testimonies of complainant and other witnesses remained consistent on material points despite lengthy cross-examination.

According to the prosecution, a confrontation between the two soldiers started when one argued with the other over his prolonged stay in a washroom while he was waiting for his turn outside. A case was registered against Murtaza on the complaint of a sub-inspector of Rangers under Section 302 (premeditated murder) of the Pakistan Penal Code at the Sharea Faisal police station.

Former CM’s plea

Another division bench of the SHC on Wednesday disposed of a petition of former chief minister of Sindh Syed Qaim Ali Shah after the National Accountability Bureau said that it was not intending to arrest him in investigation against some officials of the education department.

The former chief minister was on interim pre-arrest bail and when a two-judge bench headed by Justice Mohammad Iqbal Kalhoro took up the matter for hearing, it was informed that the investigation against the petitioner and others had been taken up in pursuance of a reference pending before an accountability court in Sukkur.

The NAB prosecutor informed the bench that neither warrant of arrest had been issued against the petitioner, nor NAB intended to arrest him in this case during the investigation. It may be recalled that the former chief minister had also obtained pre-arrest bail from the SHC in other cases.

Published in Dawn, September 16th, 2021

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