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Monday October 25, 2021

SHC sets aside death sentence in murder case

September 25, 2021

The Sindh High Court (SHC) on Friday set aside the death sentence of a man in a murder case and ordered his release if he was not required in other cases.

Mohammad Rashid Bhatti was sentenced to death for murdering Altaf Hussain and injuring his friend Deepak on April 24, 2013. According to the prosecution, the appellant along with co-accused Mohammad Kashif fired on Altaf and Deepak, resulting in Altaf’s death and injuries to Deepak.

The appellant’s counsel submitted that he was falsely implicated in the case by police and the FIR of the case was registered with delay of one day. The lawyer informed the high court that the statements of the prosecution witnesses were recorded with further delay of 10 days after the registration of the FIR.

The counsel submitted that the co-accused, Mohammad Kashif, had already been acquitted by the trial court while the appellant on the basis of the same evidence had been convicted without assigning cogent reasons for awarding capital punishment. The SHC was requested to acquit the appellant by extending him the benefit of the doubt.

An additional prosecutor general supported the impugned judgment and submitted that the prosecution had been able to prove its case against the appellant by bringing on record reliable and confidence-inspiring evidence on ocular and factual premises.

A division bench of the SHC comprising Justice Mohammad Karim Khan Agha and Justice Irshad Ali Shah after hearing the arguments and perusal of the evidence observed that no plausible explanation with regard to delay in recording of prosecution witnesses was provided by the prosecution and the evidence of the said witnesses on account of delay in recording of their 161 CrPC statements could hardly be relied upon to base conviction. The high court observed that the prosecution had failed to prove charges against the appellant and set aside the trial court order with regard to the death sentence of the appellant.