Karachi: Order reserved on two defence pleas in youth murder case
KARACHI: An anti-terrorism court on Friday reserved its orders on two applications of the defence side seeking inspection of the crime-scene and recalling prosecution witnesses in the Sarfraz Shah murder case till Saturday.
Judge Bashir Ahmed Khoso reserved the orders for pronouncement after hearing arguments both sides. Defence lawyers Shaukat Hayat and M.R. Syed moved the applications under Sections 539 (B) (local inspection) and 540 (powers to summon material witness or examine person present) of the criminal procedure code seeking inspection of the place of incident and recalling three prosecution witnesses for the purpose of cross-examination.
They prayed to the court to conduct the inspection of crime-scene in the presence of both parties and also requested to recall those three witnesses who were examined by the prosecution on July 12 when three of the four defence lawyers had been unable to appear in court and cross-examine the witnesses.
The special public prosecutor, Mohammad Khan Buriro, argued that since the record about the place of incident had already been placed before the court, there was no need to inspect it. He contended that the defence lawyer had moved this plea to prolong the trial.
However, he did not oppose the second application and said the witnesses might be recalled if the court thought that it would be in the interest of justice.
Meanwhile the court also recorded the statement of two prosecution witnesses. Mohammad Ramzan, the head-gardener of Shaheed Benazir Bhutto Park, deposed that he was present in the park on June 8 and saw the accused Afsar Khan grab a young man and pull him towards the food court area in the park.
After sometime he heard gunshots and rushed towards the place of incident and saw the youth lying on the ground and crying, with the Rangers personnel gathered around him, the witness added.
He further testified that the victim was bleeding profusely, adding that he was shocked and left the park. The following day, he watched the footage of the tragic incident on TV, he concluded. The defence counsel also cross-examined the witness.
Sub-Inspector Faqir Dad stated that the investigation of the case was assigned to him and he along with other policemen inspected the place of incident.
He deposed that he took Shahid Zafar and Afzal Khan into custody and also seized the weapons. He also got their physical remand from the court of a judicial magistrate.
The witness further said that he recorded the statements of witnesses under Section 161 of the CrPC but in the meantime the investigation of this case was transferred to DIG Sultan Khawaja.
Surprisingly, during cross-examination the witness was found to be unaware about the difference between an eyewitness and a formal witness. The court adjourned the hearing till Saturday for evidence of further witnesses.
Earlier, when the court took up the case for hearing on Friday morning, the absence of investigation officer DIG Sultan Khawaja irked the court.
The court observed that it seemed that the IO had no interest in the case and the court might summon the provincial police officer.
Later, the IO and two ADIGs (legal) tuned up when the court was recording the evidence of a witness and the judge ordered them to leave the courtroom.
Bahaur Rehman, Liaquat Ali, Mohammad Tariq, Manthar Ali, Shahid Zafar and Afzal Khan of Pakistan Rangers, Sindh and a private contractor, Afsar Khan, have been charged with the murder of Sarfraz Shah, was shot at and then left to die inside a park in Clifton on June 8.
They were 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 Anti-Terrorism Act.