Youth’s killing case: Four Rangers men given lawyer at state expense
KARACHI: An anti-terrorism court on Friday deferred again the indictment of six personnel of Pakistan Rangers, Sindh, and a civilian in the youth’s killing case. The court appointed a lawyer at state expense to defend four of the seven suspects since they failed to engage counsel for their defence.
The suspects — Sub-Inspector Bahaur Rehman, Lance Naik Liaquat Ali, constables Mohammad Tariq, Manthar Ali, Shahid Zafar, Afzal Khan and a private contractor, Afsar Khan — have been booked in a case under Section 302 (premeditated murder), 36 (effect caused partly by act and partly by omission) and 34 (common intention) of the Pakistan Penal Code read with Section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997.
When the case came up for hearing before Judge Bashir Ahmed Khoso of the ATC-I on Friday, four suspects — Liaquat Ali, Mohammad Tariq, Shahid Zafar and Afzal Khan — expressed their failure to engage counsel for their defence. However, the remaining suspects engaged counsel to plead their case.
Applying Section 19 (8) of the ATA, 1997, the court appointed a lawyer at state expense to represent the suspects from the next hearing.
According to Section 19 (8), “an anti-terrorism court shall not give more than two consecutive adjournments during the trial of the case. If the defence counsel does not appear after two consecutive adjournments, the court may appoint a state counsel with at least seven years standing in criminal matters for defence of accused from the panel of advocates maintained by the court for the purpose in consultation with government and shall proceed with the trial of the case”.
The court adjourned the hearing till June 28 for the indictment of the suspects.
Sarfraz Shah was shot to death allegedly by Rangers personnel on June 8 inside the Shaheed Benazir Bhutto Park within the remit of the Boat Basin police station. The Rangers initially claimed that the youth was armed and killed in an encounter. However, 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.
A case (FIR 227/2011) was registered at the Boat Basin police station on a complaint of the victim’s brother, Saalik Shah.