Karachi: Man acquitted in Mufti Ateeq murder case
KARACHI: An anti-terrorism court acquitted on Wednesday a defendant in the double murder case of Mufti Ateeq-ur-Rehman and his brother Mufti Mohammed Irshad. Judge Haq Nawaz Baloch of the ATC-5, who exonerated Hammad Raza Naqvi from all charges for want of incriminating evidence, also issued a show-cause notice to the investigation officer for conducting a defective and inefficient investigation.
Mufti Rehman, known as Ustadul Hadith of Jamia Binoria in Site, and his brother were killed and his 10-year-old son was wounded near Burnes Road on June 23, 2005 when gunmen on a motorcycle sprayed them with bullets.
The 52-year-old religious scholar was on his way home in his car with his brother and son after delivering a lecture at the Madina Masjid, Burnes Road, which he used to visit every Friday.
The Preedy police had registered a double murder case (FIR No 31505) initially against unknown culprits under Sections 302, 304 and 42734 of the Pakistan Penal Code.
The judge, who had reserved the judgment after hearing the final arguments from the defence and prosecution, observed in the verdict that the presence of the eyewitnesses at the murder spot was doubtful as their names were not mentioned in the report submitted by the investigation officer to the court in 2005.
Giving the defendant the benefit of the doubt, who also disputed the time and place of his arrest, the judge remarked that the prosecution had failed to prove the involvement of the accused in the case “beyond any reasonable shadow of doubt” and that the “benefit of doubt goes to the accused”.
The investigation officer, however, testified that he had recorded the statements of all the prosecution witnesses, including two eyewitnesses Hamaar Ateeq and Sajjad Hussain, soon after the incident.
In his final arguments, defence counsel Mushtaq Ahmed contended that the names of the eyewitnesses were not mentioned in the initial police report and their names were placed in the list of prosecution witnesses after the arrest of the accused over two years after the incident.
He argued that his client was implicated in the case and the entire prosecution story was full of contradictions. He stated that there were glaring conflicts in the vocal and medical reports.
The defence counsel pleaded to the court to acquit the defendant as he was entitled to be given the benefit of the doubt.
Hammad Raza Naqvi, who was formally indicted in the double murder case on September 12, 2007, deposed before the court that he was innocent and implicated in the case. The CID police, he said, had picked him from his house on March 3, 2007 but showed him to have been arrested in an encounter the following day. He also said that the eyewitnesses produced in court by the police were bogus and students of a madressah.
The Special Public Prosecutor, Mazhar Qayyum, submitted that the prosecution had produced two eyewitnesses in court and the witnesses had also identified the accused during the identification parade. He argued that the prosecution had successfully proved its case and demanded the death penalty for the accused.
The court had examined around 13 prosecution witnesses including two eyewitnesses.
According to the prosecution, the defendant had confessed to the crime during interrogation. He also allegedly disclosed the name of his accomplice as Syed Mohammed Askari, who was declared an absconder.
The judge ordered that the case file against the absconding accused be kept dormant till his arrest.
The complete article can be found at Dawn News.