Shooting at Karachi park: Ranger sentenced to death
KARACHI: A Rangers constable was sentenced to death and five other personnel and a civilian to life imprisonment by an anti-terrorism court here on Friday for shooting an unarmed youth to death in a public park.
Judge Bashir Ahmed Khoso of ATC-I concluded the trial in around one and a half months under a directive of the Supreme Court.
Constable Shahid Zafar was given death sentence and sub-inspector Bahaur Rehman, lance naik Liaquat Ali, constables Mohammad Tariq, Manthar Ali and Afzal Khan and civilian Afsar Khan were ordered jailed for life. Sarfraz Shah, 22, was shot twice and then allegedly left to die in the park in Clifton on June 8.
The incident was filmed by a cameraman and aired by several news channels, which shocked the nation and moved the Supreme Court to take suo motu notice.
A fine of Rs200,000 each was imposed on the convicts who will have to spend an additional six months in prison in case of default.
The court also ordered the convicts to pay a compensation of Rs100,000 each to the heirs of deceased with the same punishment for default. The accused remained calm when the judge read out the verdict in a packed courtroom.
“I am of the considered opinion that the prosecution has proved its case before this court against the accused beyond any reasonable doubt. The accused persons on the other hand have failed to rebut the case and kept changing their defence version,” the order said.
The court handed down the 33-page verdict after recording the testimonies of 20 prosecution and three defence witnesses and hearing arguments from both sides.
It is possibly the first verdict of its kind in which a civilian court awarded capital punishment to a serving solider of a paramilitary force.
Reuters adds: “We have found justice. The court has given the right decision,” said Muhammad Khan Buriro, a prosecutor. “I would like to say that it was the personal action of the soldiers involved, and not an act by the Rangers,” he said.
A lawyer for the convicted Rangers said he would appeal against the decision in the superior courts. The footage of the killing showed the Rangers shooting the man at close range in the Benazir Bhtto Park.
Accused Afsar Khan is seen grabbing Sarfaz Shah by the hair and dragging him over to a group of Rangers. As the man pleads for mercy one of the soldiers shoots him twice.
The footage shows the man falling to the ground in a pool of his own blood and screaming in pain, while the soldiers stood around him.
Salik Shah, a brother of the victim, said: “We are satisfied with the punishment and we hope that the higher courts will also keep them and overturn the appeals of the accused.”
The Supreme Court had ordered the transfer of the director general of the Rangers in Sindh after the killing.