An anti-terrorism court on Saturday halted the proceedings in an eight-year-old case against former Sindh home minister Dr Zulfiqar Mirza and his supporters over the prosecution’s “lack...
An anti-terrorism court on Saturday halted the proceedings in an eight-year-old case against former Sindh home minister Dr Zulfiqar Mirza and his supporters over the prosecution’s “lack of interest to proceed with it”.
Mirza, along with his around three dozen supporters, had been booked on charges of obstructing policemen from performing their duty during an alleged siege of the Darakhshan police station in May 2015.
As the case came up for hearing before the ATC-XII judge, the prosecution department’s focal person Anwar Mahar appeared in the court and once again sought time for the appointment of a special public prosecutor to pursue the case. He requested the judge to adjourn the case to a date after Eid so a prosecutor could be appointed.
Turning down his request, the judge observed that the prosecution didn’t seem interested in pursuing the case. He kept in abeyance the proceedings and conditionally discharged Mirza and other accused, according to defence lawyer Ashraf Samoon. The prosecution can move the court for reopening the case.
At the previous hearing, the court had given the prosecutor general a last chance to appoint an SPP until March 25. Additional prosecutor general Saleem Akhtar Buriro informed the judge that the prosecution department had approached the home secretary for denotifying Muhammad Khan Buriro as the special public prosecutor in the present case and appointing any other SPP in his place, adding that the process would likely be completed within the next few days.
On January 21, the judge noted that despite the clear directions contained in the December 28 letter of the Sindh High Court’s Member Inspection Team-II about expeditious disposal of cases in compliance with the directives of the National Judicial (Policy Making) Committee (NJPMC), the special public prosecutor (SPP) was called absent once again though the investigating officer appeared along with three prosecution witnesses.
“Such conduct of SPP has put the court in an embarrassing position where the directions issued by the honourable NJPMC could not be complied with unless strict actions are taken and coercive measures adopted,” the judge said, directing the assistant prosecutor generals assigned to the court to prepare themselves to proceed with the matter in case the SPP again chose to remain absent or showed reluctance to proceed with the matter.
In May 2015, the Darakhshan police had registered an FIR against Mirza and his supporters for allegedly causing a terror-like situation at the Darakhshan police station, threatening policemen and obstructing them from performing their duty. He had come to the police station to record his statement in cases registered against him in the Badin district.