KARACHI: The Sindh High Court on Monday issued notices to provincial authorities concerned on a petition seeking implementation of witness protection law.

The petitioner urged the SHC to issue directive to respondents to frame rules under the Sindh Witness Protection Act, 2013 and establish witness protection programme, advisory board, committee and witness protection unit as provided in the law.

A two-judge bench headed by acting Chief Justice Irfan Saadat Khan put the secretaries of law and home departments, inspector general of Sindh police and prosecutor general on notice with direction to file their comments till Nov 15.

The petitioner, Tariq Mansoor, contended that the law was enacted in 2013 to provide protection to witnesses, but the respondents made no positive efforts for the enforcement of the law in letter and spirit.

He also submitted that the law provided a framework for protection of witnesses in Sindh and to ensure a safe and secure environment to record their testimonies in criminal cases, but neither requisite fund to set up the witness protection unit had been released nor had the law properly implemented as yet.

The petitioner prayed the court to direct the respondents to frame rules as required under Section 29 of the Act and also establish witness protection unit, advisory board and other measures as provided in the law.

Uzair, co-accused denied post-arrest bail

An antiterrorism court (ATC) on Monday dismissed the bail applications of outlawed Peoples Amn Committee’s chief Uzair Baloch and another accused in the decade-old Arshad Pappu murder case.

Uzair Baloch, the alleged Lyari gang warfare kingpin, along with former Pakistan Peoples Party MNA Shahjahan Baloch, Zubair Baloch and several other alleged gangsters and some police officers have been charged with murdering their rival, Arshad Pappu, his brother Yasir Arafat and an aide Jumma Shera after the victims were kidnapped from a Defence Housing Authority area in March 2013.

Uzair and Zubair, through their counsel, had moved applications for their post-arrest bail and after hearing both sides, the ATC-X judge turned down both applications on Monday.

The hearing for evidence of witnesses was adjourned to October 19.

According to the prosecution, Pappu with his brother, confidant and 10-year-old son had gone to attend a party of a friend in DHA on the night of March 16, 2013. The boy returned home at around midnight and informed his mother that around 20 persons including some police officers riding two vehicles came to the flat in DHA and took away his father and two other persons.

The prosecution claimed that the police officers had handed the kidnapped persons over to Uzair Baloch gang members in Lyari and later Pappu’s rivals killed the captives after subjecting them to torture. The bodies of Pappu and his brother were thrown in manholes in Kalakot after they were mutilated, it stated.

The case was registered at the Kalakot police station on a directive issued by the Supreme Court.

Published in Dawn, October 17th, 2023

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