Karachi: 7 sent to lock-up in youth`s killing case
KARACHI: Six personnel of Pakistan Rangers, Sindh, and a civilian were remanded in police custody on Monday till Wednesday by the administrative judge of the anti-terrorism courts in Karachi for their involvement in the June 8 shooting to death of an unarmed young man.
Widely televised footage showed the youth, Sarfraz Shah, being shot at and then left to die by the Rangers personnel in the Shaheed Benazir Bhutto Park within the remit of the Boat Basin police station.
The Rangers had earlier claimed that the youth was armed and killed in an encounter. However, the video footage aired by television channels clearly showed that the unarmed youth was shot to death by the Rangers personnel at point-blank range as he first pleaded for mercy and later begged to be taken to hospital.
On June 10, police arrested two of the six Rangers personnel — Shahid Zafar and Afzal Khan — and produced them before a judicial magistrate, who remanded them in police custody till June 15.
However, the Supreme Court of Pakistan took suo motu notice, appointed DIG Sultan Khawaja as inquiry officer in the case, and directed him to submit a charge-sheet within seven days.
After taking over the investigations, the DIG incorporated Section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act of 1997 in the FIR (227/2011) registered against the Rangers men at the Boat Basin police station and asked the Rangers authorities to hand over four other personnel to the police.
Initially, the Rangers tried to ignore the police demand, but later they handed over the other four personnel also to the police. The police formally arrested the four Rangers men and a private person in the youth’s killing case on Sunday.
With the inclusion of Section 7 of the ATA, the jurisdiction of the judicial magistrate ended and on Monday, the police produced all the seven suspects — Sub-Inspector Bahaur Rehman, Lance Naik Liaquat Ali, Sepoy Muhammad Tariq, driver of the mobile van Manthar Ali, Shahid Zafar, Afzal Khan and an employee of the park, Afsar Khan — before Justice Maqbool Baqar of the Sindh High Court, who is also the administrative judge of the ATCs.
Special Prosecutor Arshad Iqbal Cheema told Dawn that the police requested the court to grant them the physical remand of the suspects till June 23 so that they could complete investigations and record the statements of eyewitnesses, suspects and the cameramen who had shot the whole episode after one of the suspects asked him to do so.
According to Mr Cheema, he submitted before the court that the apex court had directed the police to complete the investigations and file a charge-sheet in court within seven days and the deadline for this was ending on June 17.
Justice Maqbool Baqar remanded the suspects in police custody till June 15 and directed the police to file a charge-sheet in court on June 17, he added.
A case (FIR 227/2011) was registered at the Boat Basin police station on a complaint of the victim’s brother, Saalik Shah, under Sections 302 (premeditated murder) and 34 (common intention) of the Pakistan Penal Code. Later, Section 7 of the ATA, 1997 was incorporated in the FIR.