Karachi: December 98 triple murder case; SHC reserves verdict on plea challenging death sentence to 3
KARACHI: The Sindh High Court (SHC) has reserved its verdict on an acquittal plea challenging death sentence given by an Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) to three accused, including girl Asma who was found guilty of killing her mother, father and brother for showing believable to her boyfriend Farhan Khan in 1998.
A single bench of the SHC, comprising ‘referee judge’ Justice Maqbool Baqar, heard arguments of both side’s counsels and reserved the verdict by March 13.
Three accused, Asma, Farhan and Javed had been sentenced to death by the then ATC judge Rahmat Hussein Jaffri, while accused Wasim was awarded 10-year rigorous imprisonment in the case. However, Wasim was released after completing his sentence.
The remaining three convicts had challenged their conviction and submitted that there were several fabricated irregularities in the recording of confessional statements while the prosecution had failed to prove the case. “No conviction and sentence could be based on defective declaration of guilt.”
The prosecution had defended ATC verdict and pleaded: “The confessions were recorded and recoveries were in accordance with the law and there was no infirmity in the judgment warranting its reversal. There was no any legal flaw in the given convictions.”
The SHC division bench, comprising Justice Munib Ahmad Khan and Justice Rana Shamim, had pronounced a judgment (split judgment) on the submitted petition.
In the judgment, a member of the bench Justice Khan had acquitted the convicted accused, while other member of the bench Justice Shamim had rejected the petitioners’ pleas. Later the case was referred to Justice Maqbool Baqar (as referee judge) for final decision on the plea and he concluded the arguments and reserved verdict by March 13.
It is pertinent to mention here that ATC Judge Jafferri proceeded the case and decided it in 1998. He awarded capital punishment to three accused Asma, Farhan and Javed, while fourth accused Wasim was given 10-year rigorous imprisonment.
On the first appeal filed by all convicts, the then SHC judge Justice Abdul Hameed Dogar remanded the case for retrial to District and Session Judge Karachi (South) on concerned grounds that were: “It was not an ATC case.” The prosecution had approach Supreme Court (SC) and challenged justice Dogar’s order. SC granted prosecutions’ plea and set aside SHC’s such order for retrial of the case. It also directed SHC that the case should be heard on merits. Later, Justice Khan and Justice Shami’s division bench heard the case and gave the split judgment.
Asma, Farhan, his nephew Waseem and friend Javed allegedly conspired to kill the three. They first drugged them and later stabbed them to death. The incident occurred at the deceased couple’s residence in Saudabad, Malir, on December 30, 1998.