Karachi: Rangers men`s pleas in Sarfraz case dismissed
KARACHI: An anti-terrorism court on Saturday dismissed the applications of six detained personnel of Pakistan Rangers, Sindh, and a civilian seeking transfer of the Sarfraz Shah murder case to a sessions court.
The judge of ATC-I, Bashir Ahmed Khoso, who is conducting the trial, dismissed the pleas after hearing arguments from both sides.
The court in its order observed that the incident was widely seen by the public as a cameraman of a TV channel was present at the scene of the incident and he recorded the entire episode of the killing of the youth which was broadcast by almost every news channel.
“In this video clip the victim is shown empty-handed, entreating the accused persons and begging for his life. Despite that the accused fired at him, the act shocked every person who saw this clip on TV channels,” it added.
The court further observed that the Supreme Court in its order passed on a suo motu notice clearly stated that the matter seemed to attract prima facie Section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997. Thus, this court is very much competent to try the present case, it added.
“For the above reasons, I am of the considered view that these applications are without substance, and same are dismissed,” the order concluded.
The defence lawyers had filed applications under Section 23 (power to transfer cases to regular courts) of the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA), 1997 on June 30 in which they challenged the jurisdiction of the ATC to try this case.
Their main contentions were that when the incident took place there was no public to witness it, thus it hadn’t created a sense of fear and insecurity among the people. Besides, the deceased was a criminal and the accused had acted in good faith.
They also contended that under the provision of Section 5(3) of the ATA and some sections of criminal procedure code, the members of the armed forces during their deployment were fully protected against prosecution instituted in any criminal act.
However, special public prosecutor Mohammad Khan Buriro vehemently opposed the pleas and argued that the footage of the tragic incident had shocked the entire nation.
He maintained that a five-member bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry in its order on a suo motu notice ruled that the crime fell within the ambit of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997.
The prosecutor added that all the points raised by the defence lawyers in their applications had already been discussed by the apex court in the order, adding that this court had authority to try the present case and prayed to the court to dismiss the applications.
According to the prosecution, Sub-Inspector Bahaur Rehman, Lance Naik Liaquat Ali, constables Mohammad Tariq, Manthar Ali, Shahid Zafar and Afzal Khan of Pakistan Rangers captured Sarfraz Shah with the help of private contractor Afsar Khan on June 8 in the Shaheed Benazir Bhutto Park within the remit of the Boat Basin police station.
On the directives of his colleagues, accused Shahid shot the victim twice and left him to die inside the park. Later, the victim succumbed to his wounds.
The accused have been booked under Sections 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 ATA. The hearing of the case was adjourned till July 4 when the court would record the evidence of prosecution witnesses.