Karachi: 2 acquitted in children kidnap case
KARACHI: An anti–terrorism court on Friday acquitted two men accused of kidnapping two minor girls for ransom due to a lack of evidence. The accused, Nasir Ali, and his associate, Adam Khan, were charged with kidnapping Ali`s daughters, Muskan, 6, and Naina, 5, for ransom from Hyderabad in July 2007. The judge conducting the trial, Abdul Ghafoor Memon of ATC-II, pronounced the order after recording the final arguments from both the prosecution and the defence. The prosecution said that the complainant, Samina, was married to one of the accused, Nasir Ali, in 2000. The two daughters were born in wedlock, but due to differences between the two, Samina filed for dissolution of the marriage in a family court. The marriage was eventually dissolved in 2007. On July 19, 2007, the accused, along with his associates, allegedly forcefully entered the house of the complainant`s father in the limits of Bhitai Nagar police station, Hyderabad, where Samina was living along with her daughters. The prosecution claimed that the accused then made the entire family drink tranquilizer-laced milk, and then kidnapped both girls. It was also claimed that they stole cash and other valuables from the house. The prosecution said a ransom of Rs500,000 million was demanded for the release of the children.
A case (FIR 62/07) was then registered on a court order against the accused under Sections 365–A, 337–J, 382, 147, 148 and 149/34 of the Pakistan Penal Code at Bhitai Nagar police station on Aug 2, 2007. The police said they had initiated investigations and arrested the accused in Larkana, recovering both girls from their custody. Later, the complainant filed a transfer application before the Sindh High Court and the case was consequently transferred to an anti–terrorism court in Karachi.
In its judgment, the court stated that the prosecution had failed to establish its case against the accused, adding that there were glaring contradictions in the prosecution`s story and the statements of witnesses.
Elaborating, it said that according to the FIR, everyone who lived in the house became unconscious after drinking the drugged milk, but one of the daughters, Muskan, deposed that the accused had not taken them away at all. Under cross-examination, she stated that she had not drunk the milk, casting doubt on the credibility of the prosecution`s story.
The court said that as the complainant`s father had seen the accused enter the kitchen, it was difficult to believe that everyone in the house drank the milk despite knowing it was laced with tranquilizers.
The judge observed that there was no record of any poisonous substance being given to the complainant and her family with the intention of killing them. Referring to rulings of superior courts, Judge Memon added that if a father takes custody of his children, it cannot be termed illegal.
He concluded that it was doubtful that the abductees would be recovered if they had indeed been kidnapped, adding that no independent witnesses were examined in order to prove that a demand for ransom was made. He asserted that there were material contradictions in the prosecution`s evidence.
During final arguments, defence counsel Shoaib Ashraf argued that a false case had been manufactured against his clients, with the objective of obtaining custody of the children by pressurising their father.
Ashraf said that it was doubtful that the accused would have left the complainant`s home, and then returned to abduct the children, as the prosecution claimed.
The special public prosecutor asserted that the prosecution had indeed successfully proved its case against both of the accused.
Two of the co-accused, Munawar and Javed, were declared absconders in the case.