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SHC sets aside life imprisonment of two men in murder case

December 04, 2023

Stating that the prosecution had failed to prove charges on the appellants, the Sindh High Court (SHC) has set aside life imprisonment of two men against their conviction in a murder case.

Ismail and Zeeshan were sentenced to life imprisonment by a West additional district and sessions court for murdering 17-year-old Farhan in the Surjani Town area.

According to the prosecution, the appellants along with co-accused Mohammad Farhan had abducted Farhan from a wedding function on June 18, 2018 and his body with tortured marks was found at an under-construction shop in the vicinity.

The Sindh High Court (SHC) building can be seen in this image. — Facebook/The Sindh High Court Bar Association
The Sindh High Court (SHC) building can be seen in this image. — Facebook/The Sindh High Court Bar Association 

At a recent hearing, a single bench of the high court headed by Justice Omar Sial after hearing the arguments of the counsel observed that the only evidence against the appellants was that they were last seen together with the victim whereas no recovery was made, and there were no eyewitnesses to the incident.

The high court observed that eyewitnesses Mohammad Huzaifa along with Shahzaib, alias Shanoo, and Mohammad Naeem were the three witnesses who claimed that they had seen Farhan leaving with one of the appellants Zeeshan while no one saw the second appellant Ismail.

The SHC observed that in the present case, there was neither recovery nor motive for the appellants to kill Farhan and on the contrary, the complainant, in his testimony, confirmed that there was no fight or enmity between the accused and the deceased.

The bench observed that the prosecution had failed to prove its case against the appellants beyond any shadow of doubt and the benefit of the doubt should have gone to the appellants in pursuance of well-established principles.

The high court set aside the life imprisonment conviction and ordered the release of the appellants if they were not required in other cases.

Bail granted

The SHC recently granted bail to a man and woman in a murder case. Syeda Hina Zaidi and Syed Zeeshan Hussain Zaidi were arrested by the police over the murder of a medical officer of the Sui Southern Gas Company on July 7, 2023.

According to the prosecution, the applicants were charged along with others with kidnapping and murdering the medical officer in the Ferozabad area.

The high court observed that the only evidence against the applicant, Hina, was that she recorded a statement under the Section 161 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, in which she disclosed that her husband, Sarmad Siddiqui, would often bring people home and torture them.

The SHC observed that this was the evidence that the prosecution had and the evidence on which the trial court, in its wisdom, had declined the applicants' bail.

The high court observed that no recovery to corroborate what Hina supposedly said had been made to date while the applicant had not assigned any role to herself or her brother Zeeshan.

The bench observed that upon a tentative assessment, the evidence against the applicants was not of such a nature that could establish a crime of abduction or murder and the case against the applicants merited further inquiry.

The high court observed that another woman Farheen Zameer had also been arrested in the case, and she had ostensibly recorded that Sarmad had exploited her poverty and forced her to facilitate the abduction of the doctor.

The SHC observed that Farheen in her confession had not named the applicants. The bench observed that the investigation officer had asserted that the doctor's ATM cards were also used to withdraw money from his accounts however still such an allegation was against different individuals and one wondered how the investigation officer had reached this conclusion that the appellants were involved in that larceny when, till date he had not obtained the bank account details of the doctor, nor had he inspected the footage of CCTVs installed at the bank.

The SHC observed that the case against the applicants merited further inquiry and granted them bail against a surety of Rs100,000 each.