Appeals Of Convicts: SC Wants To See Original Footage Of Sarfaraz Shah’s Murder
Published: August 29, 2014
Appeals Of Convicts: SC Wants To See Original Footage Of Sarfaraz Shah’s Murder, The Supreme Court (SC) called on Thursday the original footage of the murder of an unarmed young man, Sarfaraz Shah, at the hands of five Rangers personnel.
The convicts have been given death and life terms from an anti-terrorism court and they have filed appeals with the SC. A three-member bench, comprising Justices Sarmad Jalal Osmany, Gulzar Ahmed and Muhammad Athar Saeed, was hearing appeals of the paramilitary troopers and a civilian against the maintenance of their sentences by the Sindh High Court (SHC).
On Wednesday, the SC bench had directed the appealing convicts’ lawyer to provide video footage of the incident in order to see whether the offence committed by the appellants fell within the ambit of the Anti-Terrorism Act 1997.
During Thursday’s hearing, Rangers’ lawyer Khawaja Naveed Ahmed produced a CD of the footage that was shown on another private channel, Dunya television. When the judges inquired about the original footage that was aired on Awaz television, whose crew had recorded the entire incident as they were filming nearby, Naveed said it was still with the channel.
Adjourning the hearing till Friday, the bench directed the Rangers lawyer to produce the original video footage by the next date of hearing.
Sarfaraz Shah was shot dead by Rangers personnel inside Karachi’s Shaheed Benazir Bhutto Park on June 8, 2011. Initially, the paramilitary force claimed that he was a dacoit and was killed during an encounter.
Later, however, a video footage had emerged which had shown the Rangers men beating and dragging the unarmed 19-year-old boy, who was in turn begging for his life. It also showed the men shooting him and leaving him there to die, lying in a pool of blood.
Taking suo motu notice of the brutal act, the then Supreme Court chief justice Iftikhar Chaudhry had ordered registration of a murder case against the personnel visible in the video. In addition, the then Rangers DG and Sindh police IG were removed from their posts to ensure fair investigations.
In a judgment against law enforcement personnel, the anti-terrorism court had convicted and sentenced the accused under Section 7(a) of the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) 1997, read with Sections 302 and 34 of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) on August 12, 2011.
Rangers operative Shahid Zafar was given the death sentence, while sub-inspector Bahur Rehman, Lance Naik Liaquat Ali, constable Mohammad Tariq, constable Minthar Ali, constable Mohammad Afzal and private contractor Afsar Khan, were sentenced to life imprisonment.
Moreover, all were ordered to pay a fine of Rs200,000 each or undergo an additional six months of jail. They were also ordered to pay Rs100,000 each in compensation to the legal heirs.
The victim’s family had later “pardoned the convicts in the name of God”, without accepting blood money. An SHC bench, headed by Justice Sajjad Ali Shah, had on June 21, dismissed the convict’s appeals and rejected the compromise, saying that the offence could not be pardoned through a compromise.
The high court had upheld death and life imprisonments and fines awarded to the convicts, but acquitted one co-accused, Liaquat Ali, for want of evidence. The convicts appealed to the SC, arguing that the SHC had erred in examining the facts and appealed to set aside the high court’s order.
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