KARACHI: The Sindh High Court has directed jail authorities to release a woman and her nephew in the murder case of her husband after modifying and setting aside their sentences.

The SHC sentenced Zainab Bibi to a period she had already spent in prison.

The court set aside the life term awarded to her nephew, Zaheer Ahmed, and upheld his seven-year term for destroying evidence which he had already completed.

Apart from other sentences, a sessions court had sentenced the woman and her nephew to life in prison in December 2018 for killing her spouse Ahmed Abbas and attempting to cook his body pieces after chopping it in November 2011 in their house in Green Town, Shah Faisal Colony, Karachi.

The convicts had approached the SHC impugning the conviction of the trial court and after hearing both sides and examining the record and proceedings, the single-judge bench headed by Justice Omar Sial dismissed the appeal of woman, but modified the sentences and partially allowed the appeal of the man.

The bench in its judgement said that apparently, the deceased was a man of unsavoury character and addicted to drugs while it was Zainab’s second marriage with him and she had a 16-year-old daughter from her first marriage.

It appeared that incessant and continuous physical, sexual and mental abuse of the girl at the hands of the deceased was the cause of her mother’s action and the body was chopped off in order to facilitate its disposal of, it added.

The bench further said that the act of the accused cannot be justified in any case, but apparently the murder was caused by a consequence of the deceased who put the teenage girl not only in fear of rape, but, perhaps, actually repeatedly and continuously subjected her to the same.

It noted that in other words the murder of the deceased was caused under Section 299-G (Ikrah-e-tam) of the Pakistan Penal Code and punishable under Section 303-A of the PPC and converted the sentence of the female appellant from one punishable under Section 302-B to Section 303-A of the PPC and sentenced her the period she had already spent in jail.

However, the bench upheld her seven-year term handed down by the trial court for causing disappearance of evidence, which she had already completed.

About the case of the male appellant, it observed that Zaheer was made an accused in the case as Zainab had told police that he had helped her, but basically the evidence against him was the statement of a co-accused, and there was no evidence that any intoxicating material was administered by Zaheer to the deceased.

The bench observed that there was not enough evidence against Zaheer to prove a case of premeditated murder, but there was a sufficient evidence in the shape of body parts and crime weapons recovered from the place of the offence coupled with his presence either inside or outside the house which indicated that he was aware of the dismemberment of the body by the woman and it amounted to an attempt to conceal evidence.

Thus, he was acquitted from the offence of premeditated murder, but his seven-year sentence for causing disappearance of evidence was upheld, it added.

Both the appellants have been in jail since 2011 and completed the sentences in question and the bench directed the jail authorities to release them if not required in any other custody case.

Published in Dawn, December 2nd, 2022

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