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Thursday February 09, 2023

Perween Rahman’s family to move SC against SHC's verdict

Sindh High Court accepts appeals against life terms of men accused in Perween Rahman murder case

November 21, 2022
Late social activist Perween Rahman. — Twitter/File
Late social activist Perween Rahman. — Twitter/File

KARACHI: The family of renowned rights activist Perween Rahman — who was gunned down in Karachi in 2013 — has decided to move the Supreme Court against the Sindh High Court’s (SHC) verdict acquitting all five men sentenced in her murder case.

Aqeela Ismail, sister of the slain rights activist, told Geo News that the verdict is "beyond comprehension".

"Everything was clear both the joint investigation teams found the suspects guilty [of her murder]; however, every thing was ended today," she highlighted, lamenting that neither were they heard nor given an opportunity in the SHC.

She said that the lives of her family members and the employees of the Orangi Pilot Project were in danger after the release of the suspects.

Aqeela urged the authorities to arrest the suspects under the Maintenance of Public Order (MPO) Ordinance, 1960. She also requested the Sindh government to file an appeal against the verdict of the SHC in the murder case immediately.

The slain architect's sister also demanded the federal government provide them with justice. 

SHC quashes life sentences of accused 

Earlier today, the SHC quashed the sentences of the five men accused in the Orangi Pilot Project director Perween Rahman’s murder case.

The SHC allowed the appeals of accused Rahim Swati, Amjad Hussain, Ayaz Swati, Ahmed Hussain and Imran Swati against their sentences in the murder case and declared their sentences null and void.

In its decision, the SHC said that if the accused are not wanted in other cases, they should be released.

Rahman, who was a renowned urban planner and social activist, was murdered in a drive-by shooting on her car at the Banaras flyover a few minutes after she left her office for home on March 13, 2013.

The accused named in her murder case were sentenced to double life terms by an anti-terrorism court in December, 2021. The fifth accused, Imran Swati, was awarded a sentence of seven years for being an accomplice in the murder of Rehman.

SHC dismisses plea for inclusion of additional evidence in Perween Rahman murder case

Earlier this month, the SHC had dismissed an application filed by a complainant in Rahman’s murder case for the inclusion of additional evidence, observing that the evidence was already in the knowledge of the prosecution.

Auqila Ismail had filed application with the SHC on appeals filed by convicts against their convictions, submitting that she came to know that main appellant Mohammad Rahim Swati had also admitted to the murder in a private television channel interview.

She said the contents of the private channel’s interview materially corroborate the confession of appellant Swati and proved that the motive behind the murder was a dispute between the appellant and Rahman over a piece of land of the OPP.

The court was requested to take the additional evidence, in relation to the video recording of the interview of the appellant, by itself or direct that it be taken up by the trial court. 

A division bench, headed by Justice Mohammad Karim Khan Agha, after hearing the arguments of the counsel and the additional prosecutor general, observed that the additional evidence was not necessary as the trial court had already believed one of the confessions of the appellant though it was retracted by him.