Rawalpindi: Ex-minister acquitted in murder case
RAWALPINDI: An additional district and sessions judge (ASJ) here on Monday acquitted former state minister for communications Engineer Shahid Jamil Qureshi of the charges of murdering and keeping Kafila Siddiqui, a Canadian national, in illegal custody. ASJ Nisar Beig, who had conducted the trial of the former minister in Adiala Jail, acquitted Mr Qureshi, giving him benefit of doubt in the absence of evidence against him.
After his acquittal, the former minister was released from the jail Monday evening. Before resigning from the ministry, Mr Qureshi obtained pre- arrest bail which was later cancelled when murder charges were inserted in the case. His post-arrest bail pleas were rejected first by the sessions judge and later by the Islamabad High Court. The Islamabad High Court directed the judge conducting the trial to conclude the case within a month.
The former minister was booked under sections 302, 316, 344 and 346 of Pakistan Penal Code on the complaint of Mohammad Mustafa Qayyum, the brother of Kafila Siddiqui in June last year.
According to details, the woman had allegedly been kept in illegal confinement in the house of the former minister in Islamabad where she died under mysterious circumstances. The medical examination conducted by a team of doctors from Pims, led by Dr Farrukh Kamal, found that the woman had not been murdered.
However, later a medical board in Karachi conducted re- examination which confirmed that Ms Kafila was murdered. This led to the insertion of murder charges in the case against Mr Qureshi. A case was also registered against the Pims doctors for concealing evidence.
During the trial however, ASJ Nisar Beig found no evidence of murder and termed the Pims report correct after which the case against the doctors was set aside. Before the death of Ms Kafila, her husband Suleman Qaiser, also a Canadian citizen, had complained to the Pakistani authorities through the Interpol that his wife had been confined by the former state minister.
Engineer Shahid Jamil Qureshi was accused of first trying to take Ms Kafila’s body to Lahore via motorway, but later returned to Pims. The complainant said despite knowing that Kafila’s health was deteriorating, he did not provide her any medical help.