KARACHI: The Sindh High Court (SHC) has ordered the registration of a criminal case against a police assistant sub-inspector and four other police officials over the killings of two suspects in a fake police encounter.
The order came on an appeal of Mohammad Javed, who challenged his seven-year sentence by an anti-terrorism court (ATC) in a case pertaining to attempt to murder, possession of illegal weapon and police encounter.
According to the prosecution, the appellant, along with Ghulam Shabbir, Ghulam Rasool and absconding co-accused Yousuf, were involved in a police encounter in the vicinity of Kaneez Fatima Society on May 5, 2019, in which police killed Shabbir and Rasool while arrested Javed in an injured state.
The appellant had filed the appeal against his conviction and submitted that the trial court did not consider the fact that no bullet had hit the police mobile whereby it could have been proved that the police had shot the accused persons.
His counsel submitted that the trial court did not appreciate the evidence of the case and background of the appellant and requested the high court to set aside the trial court order.
A division bench of the SHC, headed by Justice Nazar Akbar, after hearing the arguments of the appellant and additional prosecutor general observed that it had clearly surfaced that ASI Imran Rasheed, police constable Mohammad Arif, driver Sajjad Hussain, police constable Waqar Hussain and police constable Fahad Ali had brutally murdered Shabbir and Rasool in the vicinity of Kaneez Fatima Society and painted the incident as a police encounter.
The SHC observed that the prosecution case was not trustworthy and there were several dents in the prosecution story. After the perusal of the investigation report, the high court observed that police officials had stated that they had used official sub-machine guns (SMGs) in retaliation to firing from the two deceased victims and their accomplices, including the appellant.
The SHC observed that only three empty shells of SMGs were secured from the spot and three empty shells of a 30 bore pistol said to have been fired by the accused party were also seized, although no injury was caused to any police official, passer-by or damage to the police vehicle.
The high court observed that of the three 30 bore pistol empty shells allegedly fired by the suspects, none matched with the pistol said to have been found on the deceased suspects and appellant. The bench observed that a medico-legal officer statement showed that the deceased were shot dead from a distance of about two feet with a single bullet injury in their heads with a very high-velocity weapon.
The SHC observed that the story of robbery was invented after the incident and that was why the case of robbery was not tried by the ATC and no application under the Section 21-M of the Anti-Terrorism Act had been filed by the investigation officer.
For reasons to be recorded later, the high court set aside the conviction of the appellant and ordered his release if not required in any case. The SHC also directed the West SSP to immediately take disciplinary action against the ASI and four other police personnel and register a case against them within three days for committing the murder of two persons and submit a compliance report.
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