PESHAWAR: Peshawar High Court has converted to death the sentence of life awarded to a convict by a trial court for killing a young girl over an engagement dispute.

A bench consisting of Justice Sahibzada Asadullah and Justice Kamran Hayat Miankhel rejected an appeal filed by the convict, Zahir Abbas, and upheld his conviction by an additional sessions judge in Lakki Marwat on July 12, 2023.

The bench ruled that the prosecution had succeeded in bringing home guilt against the appellant and that the trial court was justified in holding him responsible for the murder of the deceased.

The bench also accepted a revision petition filed by a brother of the deceased girl, Munir Khan, seeking enhancement of the sentence of life awarded to the convict to that of death.

Bench rules trial court ignored tragic aspect of the case

Motive for the offence was that the appellant wanted to marry the deceased girl, Salma Bibi, and had demanded her hand from her family. However, the family had turned down his proposal as she was already engaged to someone else.

The FIR of the occurrence was registered at Lakki police station on complaint of Munir Khan on December 30, 2018, under different provisions of Pakistan Penal Code. The complainant stated that he along with his sisters Salma Bibi and Nasreen Bibi was present at his home when the appellant armed with a pistol entered and tried to forcibly take his sister away.

He claimed when he and Nasreen Bibi resisted, the appellant aimed his gun at them threatening to kill them. He added that Salma Bibi also resisted her abduction to which the appellant got annoyed and fired at her resulting in her death.

The trial court had sentenced the appellant to life imprisonment with payment of compensation of Rs400,000 to the legal heirs of the deceased. He was also held guilty for trespassing on the house of the complainant and was sentenced to six years rigorous imprisonment on that count with fine of Rs10,000.

The high court bench observed: “It is evident from record and so confirmed by the witnesses that the appellant was the resident of the same village and that he was interested in marrying the deceased. It has been brought on record that the deceased was already engaged to Tariq Zaman, but even then the appellant was pressing for her hand and it was his stubbornness, which persuaded him to kill the deceased.”

The bench observed that the appellant also remained absconder for a long time till his arrest on November 20, 2019 and he failed to explain as to why he did not surrender to the law enforcement agencies soon after the incident.

In its 25-page detailed judgement authored by Justice Sahibzada Asadullah, the bench observed: “In order to do justice with the little soul of the deceased, we deem it imperative to reevaluate the sentencing of the appellant.”

The bench ruled that the trial court instead of awarding the normal penalty of death chose to award lesser one by ignoring the tragic aspect of the case and by overlooking the brutality of the appellant against the deceased.

“What a conduct he (appellant) displayed against a poor little soul. We despite efforts could not come across the fault of the deceased and her only fault was to resist his unholy wishes, but for the same she received a bad price,” the bench observed.

The bench concluded that the convict deserved the major penalty of death as that would be the appropriate punishment and that commensurate with the gravity of the offence and would reciprocate what the appellant did.

Published in Dawn, May 20th, 2024

Opinion

Editorial

Kindness needed
Updated 20 Jun, 2024

Kindness needed

This year’s World Refugee Day theme — solidarity with refugees — includes keeping our borders accessible and addressing the hurdles they face.
Fitch’s budget note
20 Jun, 2024

Fitch’s budget note

PAKISTAN’S ongoing economic crisis is multifaceted. At one end, the government must pursue stabilisation policies...
Cruelty to animals
20 Jun, 2024

Cruelty to animals

TWO recent incidents illustrate the immense cruelty many in this country subject voiceless animals to. In the first...
Price bombs
Updated 18 Jun, 2024

Price bombs

It just wants to take the easy route and enjoy the ride for however long it is in power.
Palestine’s plight
Updated 17 Jun, 2024

Palestine’s plight

While the faithful across the world are celebrating with their families, thousands of Palestinian children have either been orphaned, or themselves been killed by the Israeli aggressors.
Profiting off denied visas
Updated 19 Jun, 2024

Profiting off denied visas

The staggering rejection rates underscore systemic biases in the largely non-transparent visa approval process.