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July 21, 2020

Wali Babar murder accused goes on trial in illegal weapons case

Karachi

July 21, 2020

The administrative judge of the anti-terrorism courts on Monday tasked the ATC-XV to dispose of the illegal weapons case against Wali Babar murder accused Kamran, alias Zeeshan Shani, who was on the run for nine years to evade capital punishment.

Karachi police chief Ghulam Nabi Memon had disclosed to a news conference last month that Kamran was arrested from the city’s Gulshan-e-Maymar neighbourhood during a joint raid with a federal intelligence agency. Memon claimed the man was the main shooter.

Babar was gunned down in Karachi’s Liaquatabad neighbourhood on January 13, 2011, when he was returning home from work. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, “Babar was shot shortly after his story on gang violence aired on the country’s most widely watched broadcaster, Geo TV.”

After a strenuous trial involving death threats, the Kandhkot ATC in March 2014 found Kamran and his accomplice Faisal Mehmood, alias Mota, guilty of the murder, in absentia, and awarded them capital punishment. Both of them were declared proclaimed absconders.

Mehmood was arrested from the Muttahida Qaumi Movement headquarters, Nine Zero, during a Sindh Rangers raid in March 2015. Police chief Memon said that four accused had been awarded life imprisonment in the case until 2015.

He said Kamran had been at large, changing hideouts, but finally one morning, on a tip-off by a federal intelligence agency, the Special Investigation Unit of the police arrested him with weapons. The man had lived in different localities for five years before moving to Gulshan-e-Maymar with his family, he added.

According to police, Kamran has admitted to four more murders during interrogation, and charge sheets of those cases are being prepared. On Monday he was charge-sheeted in the FIR over the recovery of illegal weapons and explosives from him at the time of his arrest.

Four witnesses in the case, including star witness Haider Ali, whose testimony had led to the murder conviction, were killed between 2011 and 2012, while Advocate Naimat Ali Randhawa, a special public prosecutor in the case, was murdered in September 2013.