Karachi: Murtaza murder case: Two appeals admitted for hearing
KARACHI: The Sindh High Court on Thursday admitted two appeals “ one challenging the acquittal of defendant police officials in the Mir Murtaza Bhutto murder case and the other against the acquittal of six associates of Murtaza in a police encounter case “ for regular hearing.
One of the appeals was filed by Noor Mohammad, a relative of a PPP-SB supporter, against the impugned judgment of the trial court that acquitted the then DIG of Karachi, Shoaib Suddle, director-general of the Intelligence Bureau Masood Sharif, Wajid Durrani, Shahid Hayat, Agha Mohammed Jameel, Rai Mohammed Tahir, Shabbir Ahmed Qaimkhani, Abdul Basit, Faisal Hafeez, Raja Hameed, Ghulam Shabbir, Zulfiqar Ahmed, Zakir Mehmood, Zafar Iqbal, Ahmed Jan, Gulzar Khan, Ghulam Mustafa and Muslim Shah.
Mir Murtaza Bhutto, the chief of the Pakistan People`s Party (Shaheed Bhutto), was gunned down with his seven associates and supporters on Sept 20, 1996 near his Clifton residence in an alleged shootout with police.
The other appeal was filed by Shahid Hayat against the acquittal of Ghulam Mustafa, Mehmood, Asif, Akhtar Ali, Dr Mazhar Memon and Asghar Ali, who were arrested following the alleged shootout with police.
On Thursday, Advocate Omer Sial, counsel for appellant Noor Mohammed, submitted in court that an inquiry tribunal of three judges, constituted by the government to investigate the incident, had given its report after examining as many as 121 witnesses.
He stated that the trial court did not allow bringing on record the report of the inquiry tribunal. The counsel contended that none of the accused in the case had claimed that they had been fired upon by Murtaza`s associates and that they had exercised their right to defence. Nonetheless, he added, the trial judge considered this aspect at length in his judgment without there being any evidence to this effect.
Advocate Sial further contended that there were seven eyewitnesses to the incident and all of them were disbelieved by the trial court saying they were not the people of good character.
He contended that the judgment was verbally announced by the trial court on Jan 4, 2010, while the written judgment was issued on Jan 8, which was itself an illegality as the verdict could not be announced orally.
The bench in its order said: “The contentions raised by the counsel for the appellants require consideration. We, therefore, admit this appeal for regular hearing and direct that notices be issued to the respondents as well as prosecutor general, Sindh. R & P be called and paper book be prepared.”
Advocate Shaukat Hussain Zubedi appeared for Shahid Hayat. An identical order was issued in the appeal. The bench put off the hearing to a date to be later fixed by the court`s office.