Sunday October 01, 2023

SHC sets aside life imprisonment of MQM activist in sectarian killing case

May 29, 2023

The Sindh High Court (SHC) has set aside the life imprisonment of a Muttahida Qaumi Movement activist in a double murder case observing that the prosecution had failed to prove charges against him.

Syed Afsar, alias Rizvi, was sentenced to life imprisonment by an anti-terrorism court (ATC) for murdering two persons in Lyari in July 2012. According to the prosecution, the appellant had during his arrest in 2016 confessed to his involvement in the murders of Abdul Sattar and Anis Ahmed in July 2012.

The prosecution stated that the appellant had killed the two men along with other absconding co-accused after kidnapping and torturing them because they committed blasphemy. The appellant had allegedly disclosed that he received orders from the high command of a Shia organisation to kill the two men who were activists of the banned Sipah-e-Sahaba.

The prosecution alleged that the appellant kept the two men hostage in a flat in Shah-e-Khurasan in the Soldier Bazaar area, and later killed them and threw their bodies in the Mithadar and Nabi Bux areas in July 2012.

A counsel for the appellant submitted that his client was falsely implicated in the case on the basis of his political affiliation and he had retracted from his confession before a judicial magistrate, which was the only piece of evidence against him.

He submitted that there was no other supporting evidence to prove the offence on part of the appellant. An additional prosecutor general supported the trial court order and sought dismissal of the appeal.

A division bench of the SHC headed by Justice Mohammad Karim Khan Agha after hearing the arguments of the counsel and perusal of evidence observed that the prosecution could not prove the case against the appellant beyond any reasonable doubt as there were no eyewitnesses or the last scene evidence of the offence.

The high court observed that the retracted confession of the appellant was not supported by the prosecution with independent witnesses and in the absence of such evidence, the confessional statement could not be relied upon.

The bench observed that the appellant had made a detailed confessional statement confessing several murders and offences, including the instant case, which happened four years prior to his arrest by the Rangers.

The SHC observed that the police did not recover the weapon of crime from the appellant and did not know from where he had kidnapped the deceased men prior to killing them. The bench observed that the prosecution had failed to prove charges against the appellant and ordered his release if not required in other cases.