LAHORE: An anti-terrorism court on Saturday remanded a teenage boy in five-day police custody in a case of a road accident in the Defence Housing Authority (DHA) that claimed the lives of six members of a family.

The police presented suspect Afnan Shafqat before the court with his face covered.

The investigating officer stated that the custody of the suspect was required to conduct a test to determine his age and a detailed investigation.

He said the suspect being an underage person had no driving licence. He said driving without a valid licence was an offence under the law.

A lawyer for the suspect maintained that his client was underage and the trial should take place in a juvenile court.

He acknowledged that the incident was very unfortunate but it was a road accident. He argued that the charges of murder and terrorism did not apply to this case.

Judge Abher Gul Khan observed that the defence counsel’s arguments were premature and he should advance the same during the trial proceedings.

He observed that the incident was regrettable and a thorough investigation based on truth and merit should take place to bring the facts to light.

On a complaint from the suspect’s lawyer, the judge instructed the investigating officer not to harass the suspect, emphasising that the investigation should be conducted on merit.

Separately, a sessions court summoned record of the case on a bail petition filed by suspect Afnan Shafqat before the addition of the murder and terrorism charges in the FIR.

The suspect sought bail after a judicial magistrate on Nov 15 sent him to jail on judicial remand.

Later, the police included the offences of terrorism under section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act 1997 and murder under section 302 of the PPC.

The sessions court directed the police to furnish the case record on Nov 20 (tomorrow). However, the court is likely to dispose of the bail petition for being infructuous in light of the new charges of murder and terrorism added in the FIR.

Published in Dawn, November 19th, 2023

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