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Two drug traffickers caught with charas-laden rickshaw jailed for 14 years

By Our Correspondent
April 09, 2024
This representational image shows a person holding a gavel. — Pexels
This representational image shows a person holding a gavel. — Pexels

A model court has sentenced two men to 14 years of rigorous imprisonment in a seven-year-old drug trafficking case.

Muhammad Abid alias Abid Mama and Liaquat Ali were found guilty of carrying over 103 kilogrammes of charas in a rickshaw within the jurisdiction of the Kalakot police station in March 2017.

Additional Sessions Judge Hatim Aziz Solangi of the Model Criminal Trial Court (South) pronounced his order reserved earlier after recording evidence and final arguments from both sides.

He ruled that the prosecution successfully established its case against accused Abid and Liaquat, awarding them 14-year rigorous imprisonment. The convicts were told to pay a Rs100,000 fine, and in case of default, they would have to undergo additional one-month imprisonment.

The judge, however, acquitted rickshaw driver Shahnawaz for lack of sufficient evidence. He observed that in narcotics cases, courts in Pakistan have often taken a stringent stance due to the grave nature of such offenses. However, he added, when determining the quantum of sentence, the courts also consider various mitigating factors, such as the absence of previous criminal record and the duration of pre-trial detention.

“The court, while acknowledging the seriousness of the offense, deemed that a sentence of death or life imprisonment would be too harsh for an individual who was merely a carrier and had no prior criminal record,” the judge opined.

He noted that the seized drug was not produced because it was destroyed in the fire incident at the City Courts Maalkhana. According to the prosecution, the Kalakot police, acting on a tip-off, intercepted a rickshaw in the Jameel Street near the Kachi graveyard in Lyari on March 28, 2017. A search of the rickshaw led to the recovery of 103.750 kilogrammes of charas.

Two accused sitting in the backseat of the rickshaw were arrested while the rickshaw driver managed to escape but later joined the trial after obtaining bail. The arrested accused were identified as Muhammad Abid and Liaquat. An FIR was lodged under Section 6/9-C of the Control of Narcotic Substances Act, 1997.