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February 12, 2019

SC takes up hens’ theft case today

Top Story

February 12, 2019

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court will today (Tuesday) take up a bail plea of a poverty-stricken father languishing in jail for around a year for stealing hens. A two-member bench, comprising Justice Mushir Alam and Justice Qazi Faez Isa, will hear the case.

Muhammad Zahid, a poor man from Gilgit-Baltistan, who was accused of stealing 15 hens from his ex-employer exactly a year ago in Islamabad. After two months and 10 days of an apparent theft, Raja Sajjad lodged a complaint with the Koral police, Islamabad on April 17, 2018. Sajjad told police that an unknown person had stolen hi15 hens, one water dispenser, a computer and badminton set from his office on the night of February 6, 2018. “I [Raja Sajjad] searched for the thief on my own but could not find any clue. Now I have come to know that Mohammad Zahid had stolen my hens.

The accused should be arrested and justice be served,” read the complaint. The same day the police registered an FIR (Police Form No (1) 5-24) under 380/457 (PPC, 1860) which according to lawyers was a bailable offence. “Neither the police recovered hens nor the complainant produced any witness in this case, but my ailing son Zahid, 59, was arrested the same day and later shifted to Adiala Jail,” says the accused’s father Bradar Khan, who is 79-year-old.

“My son is the sole breadwinner of his five children and the whole family has moved to Islamabad from Konodas, a small town near Gilgit city across Ghizer River, 10 years ago,” Khan told this reporter.

“We have no money to pursue my son’s case. We have nothing to eat. My son worked at Sajjad's shop. He demanded his Rs8,000 salary, which Sajjad did not pay. Sajjad also beat up my son and expelled him from the job months before accusing him of theft.” Bradar Khan is now under treatment at a hospital.

Sajjad however insists that he had paid dues to Zahid. “Zahid stole my 15 hens, a computer and water cooler,” he said. The complainant, however, did not explain as to why he waited for nine weeks before reporting the matter to the police. Bradar Khan filed post-arrest bail which was dismissed by the judicial magistrate Islamabad (East) on September 12, 2018.

He approached additional sessions judge (East) Islamabad for his son’s bail, but his plea was dismissed by the judge on November 29, 2018.

The accused then filed a bail plea with the Islamabad High Court on December 24, 2018. The accused informed the court that the petitioner was remanded in police custody for some eight months, but not a single recovery was made from him. After hearing both parties, the IHC in its order on January 12, 2019 stated that the petitioner was alleged to have committed theft of valuable articles belonging to the complainant.

The record shows the petitioner was found to be habitual offender and concession of bail could not be frequently extended, observed the court, directing the trial court to conclude the case within a period of two months. The accused, through his counsel Shahid Kamal, filed a bail plea with the Supreme Court.

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