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ATC reserves decision on plea for recording testimonies in Perween Rahman murder case

An anti-terrorism court (ATC) has reserved its decision on an application which called for recording the testimonies of the important witnesses named in all five joint investigation team’s reports made on the Perween Rahman murder case.

The ATC-VII, which is conducting the trial of the high-profile murder case inside the Central Jail Karachi, is likely to pronounce its verdict on the application on the next hearing on May 24, according to lawyer Salahuddin Panhwar who is representing the complainant Aquila Ismail, Perween’s sister, in this case.

A renowned urban planner and social activist, Perween was murdered in a drive-by shooting on her car on the Banaras flyover a few minutes after she left office for home on March 13, 2013. Five men, including Abdul Raheem Swati, his son Imran Swati, Ayaz Shamzai, Ahmed Khan and Amjad Hussain, have been charged with her murder by police.

Panhwar told the media on Wednesday that he had moved an application in the court pleading that the testimonies of around 20 witnesses named in the JIT reports should be recorded during the trial.

He added that the court after listening to the arguments from the prosecution and defence as well had reserved its decision and will pronounce it on the next hearing.

On a previous hearing, a latest supplementary charge sheet filed by the fifth joint investigation team had revealed that Rahman, the director of the Orangi Pilot Project (OPP), had named her suspected killer in an interview to a journalist two years before her assassination.

The charge sheet quoted her interview to a journalist, Fahad Deshmukh, in which she had referred to Raheem as a “land grabber and extortionist”, claiming that he was trying to occupy land reserved for an OPP office.

The report stated that Deshmukh had verified the content of the said interview and also provided an audio clip of the same which was aired on the US-based international broadcaster, Public Radio International (PRI), in January 2012.

It added that the journalist told the investigators that he had met Perween in her office in Orangi Town in December 2011. His statement was recorded under the Section 161 of the Code of Criminal Procedure and made part of the prosecution record.

The JIT was constituted on the orders of the apex court after Ismail had expressed her dissatisfaction at the Sindh police, requesting that the case be handed over to the Federal Investigation Agency.

The Joint Investigation Team mentioned in the report that they had quizzed politicians, journalists and land developers during the investigations and in the light of their findings, they observed that Rahman was killed by Raheem and his accomplices.