KARACHI: A judicial magistrate testified at an anti-terrorism court (ATC) on Monday in the murder case of Waqas Shah, a young activist of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM).
Shah, 25, was shot dead on March 11 last year while allegedly protesting against the Rangers’ raid at the MQM headquarters, Nine Zero. In the pre-dawn raid that lasted for a couple of hours, the paramilitary force claimed arresting a number of wanted and convicted terrorists and seizure of a large cache of arms and ammunition.
District Central’s magistrate, who presided over the identification parade in the initial stages of the case, confirmed before the ATC the statements of the witnesses.
According to a court official who was present during the hearing, the magistrate told ATC-IX judge Farman Ali Kanasro that two Rangers personnel had identified the suspect, Syed Asif Ali, before him. The identification, he said, was conducted as many times as required by law and the witnesses rightly picked out the suspect.
At an identification parade, the suspect along with dummies (other persons) stands before a judicial magistrate and the witness has to pick him out. The procedure is repeated thrice, each time with a different assembly of people.
Ali, also an MQM worker, is accused of killing his comrade. The prosecution maintains that the suspect, soon after shooting Shah, fled the scene taking advantage of the large crowd that had converged at Nine Zero.
In a video aired by news channels after the incident, Ali and Shah were seen standing together during the protest. They are then seen taking a few steps back as a paramilitary soldier fires shots in the air apparently to disperse the charged crowd. Seconds later another gunshot is heard and Shah is seen lying on the ground.
Earlier, the trial court recorded statements of two paramilitary personnel in connection with the case. They identified Ali as the suspected murderer.
The ATC judge, after recording the magistrate’s statement, issued directions for production of the remaining witnesses in the case. There are 14 witnesses named in the final charge-sheet while three have been examined so far.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 26th, 2016.