KARACHI: A sessions court has exonerated the headmaster of a government school and a peon from all charges pertaining to a blasphemy case registered against them in 2018.
Headmaster Javed Akhter and peon Muhammad Shahid Khan of Government Badri School Liaquatabad were charged with burning textbooks of Islamiat for classes IV and V.
Additional District and Sessions Judge (Central) Dr Shabana Waheed recently pronounced her verdict reserved after recording evidence and final arguments during the lengthy trial spanning over three years.
The judge ruled that the prosecution had failed to prove the charge against the accused.
She extended the benefit of doubt to the accused and acquitted both of them under 265-H(i) (acquittal or conviction) of the criminal procedure code.
According to the prosecution, complainant Muhammad Janagir had reported that on Aug 5, 2018 he along with his granddaughter was passing by the Govt Badri School when he saw Akhter and Khan burning Islamiat textbooks.
He added that he tried to stop them from doing so while area residents gathered there and started beating the accused, who managed to escape.
The judge observed it appeared that there were material contradictions in the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses.
She noted that complainant Jahangir, who is the star eyewitness of the prosecution, during his cross-examination also specifically admitted that “at the time of fire, I myself did not see any religious book except for papers, which were being put on fire by the accused persons”.
The judge remarked that there was no direct evidence against the present accused, as none including the complainant had described the act of burning the textbooks containing verses of Quran.
“In my humble opinion the evidence led by the prosecution is highly unreliable and insufficient to rest a belief on it for recording conviction on a capital charge,” the judge concluded.
Published in Dawn, February 8th, 2022