Karachi: Mir Murtaza case: Shakaib Qureshi exempted from court appearance
KARACHI: The Additional District and Sessions Judge, Abdul Rahman Bhatti, accepted the application of one of the accused in the Mir Murtaza Bhutto case, and exempted Shakaib Qureshi from appearing in court. Qureshi filed an exemption application through his counsel, Ashraf Qazi, stating that he could not appear in the court as he was busy in Islamabad in connection with his employment. The court accepted the application, and adjourned the case to October 11. At the last hearing too, Qureshi filed an acquittal application under 265 K.
Murtaza Bhutto, his close aide Ashique Hussain Jatoi, and six workers and supporters of the Pakistan People’s Party–Shaheed Bhutto group (PPP-SB) were killed on September 20, 1996, near Murtaza Bhutto’s residence in Clifton in an alleged shoot–out with the police.
Qureshi was the Superintendent of Police when Bhutto was killed in the alleged shoot-out near his residence. Asif Ali Zardari, Shoaib Suddle, Wajid Durrani, Masood Sharif, Shahid Hayat, Rai Mohammed Tahir, Shabbir Ahmed Qaimkhani, Agha Mohammed Jameel, along with other policemen were the accused in the case. Zardari, now the PPP Co-Chairman, was acquitted in the case.
SHC issues notice to AG on Amir Khan’s petition: The Sindh High Court (SHC) issued a notice to the Advocate General (AG) Sindh on a petition filed by Mohajir Qaumi Movement–Haqiqi (MQM–Haqiqi) leader Amir Khan, seeking the suspension of his sentence.
Khan was sentenced to a 10–year jail term by an Anti–Terrorism Court (ATC) in Karachi on December 15, 2004, for abetting co–accused Tariq, Raees and Nazim in the murder of two activists of their rival group, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), on June 23, 2003. The co–accused were awarded life imprisonments in this case.
According to prosecution, an FIR was lodged in the Landhi police station on July 2, 2003. It alleged that Khan, along with others, killed two MQM activists, Muhammad Naeem and Anam Uzair, during National Assembly bye-elections in NA-255, Karachi.
The petitioner’s counsels, M. Ilyas Khan and Mohammad Farooq, submitted that the appeal against Khan’s conviction was pending in the SHC for the last four years. They submitted that the petitioner had almost completed his sentence but his appeal was undecided and he could not seek the suspension of his sentence because it was barred under Section 25 (8) of the Anti–Terrorism Act (ATA).
The court was requested to declare the provisions of Section 25 (8) of the ATA–1997 as ultra vires as held so in the case of Asfandyar Wali by the Supreme Court of Pakistan, and suspend the petitioner’s sentence till the decision of the appeal.
The SHC’s division bench issued a pre-admission notice to the AG Sindh and others for October 8 and called for their comments.
Bailable warrants issued: Additional and District Judge Abdur Razzak has issued bailable warrants against four witnesses in a murder case and adjourned the case till October 8.
The four witnesses failed to appear in the court in a case involving Mohajir Qaumi Movement–Haqiqi (MQM–Haqiqi) chief Afaq Ahmed, who was alleged to have killed Mohammed Farooq in 1992, in the jurisdiction of Landhi during the army operation.
Ahmed’s counsel, Sohail Anjum, told The News that his client had been falsely implicated in the case and was being politically victimized. He expressed his reservation over the appointment of special prosecutor Iqtidar Ali Hashmi in the case, saying that the special prosecutor was affiliation with the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), rivals of the MQM–Haqiqi.
He said that they have spoken with the jail administration with regard to inside trial of his client and added that despite the court order that the trial be conducted in the open, the administration failed to comply with the order.
He also alleged that the judiciary was working under the influence of the MQM. The Afaq Ahmed murder case is being heard in judicial complex, Central Jail, Karachi.